The last few weeks of dry weather have demonstrated the differences in land types.
The limestone land is well able to carry the slurry tanker with no visible damage and we have made good progress in emptying the fullest of the slatted tanks and will keep spreading while this weather lasts.
On the other hand, the reclaimed land is still showing a softness, so we will have to wait for some amount of temperature increase and associated evaporation.
The same applies to my intensively drained fen peat area.
Part of the benefits of the continuous dry winter is the uniformity in the tillage crops
We still have not invested in a trailing shoe-type slurry spreader, but looking at the increased efficiency of nutrient use when using that system, as well as the increased cost of fertiliser, I don’t think we can avoid spending the money much longer. Part of the benefits of the continuous dry winter is the uniformity in the tillage crops. There are none of the usual wet spots in the fields or messy headlands that show excessive compaction.
One of the critical questions I have to answer over the next few weeks is how much can we ‘mine’ existing P and K levels in the land. I found the IFA/Teagasc/Irish Farmers Journal Wexford webinar had plenty of useful information, but my final takeaway was to be careful, if you are not on index 4 levels, in cutting back on P and K, and certainly on index 1 and 2 there is no room without significantly affecting yield.
We are just at the point of selling the first of the fit cattle
Granted fields that recently received straw under the incorporation scheme and slurry have to be given some allowance, but we have to look up our most recent soil analysis immediately.
On the cattle side, it is clear that the better than usual silage is being eaten more quickly, so the back walls of the main pit are coming closer than I would like.
We are just at the point of selling the first of the fit cattle and will also start buying in some dairy-bred cross yearlings to go out to grass. The profitability of the whole exercise, with expensive feed and extortionate fertiliser prices, is going to be thin at best.