We’ve had an exceptional few days of sunny weather in Clara this week, with a great opportunity to get another pit of silage cut and put away for the winter. We mowed the last of the later grazed first-cut silage, as well as some strong grazing paddocks and managed to cram it all into a pit about two sizes too small.
Most of this grass was well headed out and lower quality, which will be used for dry cows to keep them fit coming up to calving. Hopefully we can put away some better quality grass from an early second cut now as the main first cut was pushed about two weeks late for quality too with the rain in early May.
If we get enough rain, hopefully that second cut will come in quickly enough and fill up the last empty pit in the yard and any surplus after that can be baled to help to stagger aftergrass into the second half of the year.
We will get a nice bit of slurry out this week on the bare silage fields and top up the grazing paddocks with some fertiliser as well to take advantage of the exceptional growing conditions as long as they last.
While some people are still struggling with wet weather and soft ground conditions near the south and west coasts, other people have made hay and ground has got very hard and dry again in the southeast.
Hopefully we get enough moisture in those areas to keep grass growth up and the wetter areas of the country get enough sunshine to improve ground conditions over the next few weeks.
We are also putting out some Physiolith soil conditioner this week from Grassland Agro.
It is a soil conditioner product that we have used before and we feel it does an excellent job at promoting root growth and improving soil pH.
We will also use conventional lime towards the end of the year to further improve pH in some paddocks that have a larger lime requirement.
We are trying to reduce nitrogen dependence on the farm this year so this soil conditioner should help to improve the release of natural fertiliser in the ground.
We have oversown most of the grazing platform with clover seed over the last few weeks to further reduce our dependence on purchased nitrogen. We will assess the swards towards the end of the year and we will continue to oversow paddocks for the next few years until we get enough clover established.
Off farm, we had the tractor protests across the country last week with a good local turnout in Kilkenny. This day of action from the IFA was very important to highlight the importance of the agricultural sector to rural Ireland.
It was also important to show that we will come out and stand up for ourselves and not allow politicians and bureaucrats in Europe and at home to ride roughshod over our farm businesses and to erode their financial sustainability.
This is a battle that we will have to continue to fight hard over the coming months as we face into a CAP reform with a huge socialist agenda camouflaged under a cloak of environmentalism. This agenda will have a devastating effect on commercial full-time farmers if given a free rein.
We also needed to highlight some problems with the climate action bill that is in front of the Dáil this week, with unrealistic aspirations for agriculture and still no account of the carbon sequestration taking place on our farms.
We are told that agriculture produces 34% of the carbon emissions in the country.
However, the people that calculated this conveniently ignored the fact that we do a large amount of the carbon sequestration for the country.
We can’t continue to shoulder the burden of sequestering the carbon produced by every other sector while getting no credit for it or allowance against our own business.