In pictures: silage 2019 kicks off in February in Kilkenny
One Kilkenny farmer took the mower out of the shed this week to cut silage for the pit.

Dairy farmer Bryan Daniels cut silage this week in Kilmoganny, Co Kilkenny, as a result of good grass growth at the moment.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, he said that he was cutting Westerwold that was set on 20 July last year and this was his second cut of the crop since it was sown, with the first cut taken last October.

“We were zero-grazing it up to now. We brought in a load yesterday, we’re going to pit it up," he said.

"We’re finished mowing [the rest of it] now and we’ll leave it down overnight, pick it up tomorrow and cover it tomorrow.

Average farm cover is 1,134kg DM/ha at the moment. \ Bryan Daniels.

“Average farm cover at the moment is 1,134kg DM/ha, which is phenomenal given we are 920ft above sea level,” he said.

He is calving down 310 cows this year and by Saturday he will be halfway through calving.

“We have 45% heifer calves so far. We keep the heifers and sell on the bull calves and beef calves,” he said.

Working together

Daniels said that the ground he’s cut the Westerwold on is rented off a neighbouring tillage farmer.

The Kilkenny dairy farmer has the land rented off a neighbouring tillage farmer. \ Bryan Daniels.

“The ground is rented from a tillage farmer and I agreed I’d be off it by February, he’s putting it back into tillage then.

"The silage is a result of two different sectors working together. Without that tillage farmer, I would have been short of fodder this year,” he said.

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Three-man race for ICSA president
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) will elect a new president in June.

Three candidates are in the running to become the next president of the ICSA following the close of nominations on Friday evening.

In alphabetical order, these candidates are as follows:

  • Hugh Farrell, Cavan.
  • Dermot Kelleher, Cork west.
  • Edmond Phelan, Waterford.
  • The election will take place in Portlaoise on the evening of Thursday 27 June.

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    Watch: vegetable growers turn on the irrigation systems
    O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming have both turned on the irrigation pumps this week.

    In order to combat dry conditions, O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming were irrigating crops this week.

    Julian Hughes says he has never irrigated as early as May before and that he has two reels out at the moment, but will be putting another two out next week if there is no rain in the meantime.

    “We have a 30mm soil moisture deficit,” he said.

    “The fear of a repeat of 2018 is palpable in the yard at home, there’s dust everywhere.”

    In a normal year, he said that he would irrigate the crops in July and August.

    But so far he has put 30mm on parsnips and followed up five days later with another 30mm.

    “You could ask are we selecting higher-yielding varieties that need more inputs. But I’m using the same variety with the last 20 years.

    "It’s just very dry. We need 50mm over three days to get things balanced up.”

    Agronomist with O’Shea farms Tom Murray said that it would be normal for them to be irrigating at this time of year. They grow carrots in Piltown and Carrick-on-Suir.

    “We’re putting on 12mm to 15mm, not any more than that. We don’t want to wash away any pre-emergence spray,” Tom said.

    “There has been years before when we needed to irrigate to encourage germination. But the soil is starting to dry out and we want to be ahead of it.”

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    Investigation launched into compromised DkIT agriculture exam
    An examination paper sat by final-year agriculture science students in DkIT was compromised and students have to resit it.

    Final-year agriculture students in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) must resit an examination after a paper was compromised.

    In a statement, head of school of health and science at DkIT Dr Edel Healy said that on 20 May the college became aware that an examination paper sat by final-year students on one programme on 14 May was compromised.

    As a result, all students in the class must now resit the examination on Friday 24 May or at a later date to be decided in August.

    Investigation

    “DkIT has launched an active investigation into the circumstances surrounding this issue,” Dr Healy said.

    “All students affected by this situation have now been contacted and reassured that any repeat exams if required after the August sitting will be scheduled prior to the completion of the autumn exam board process.

    "This will ensure that all successful students may be conferred in November as planned.”

    Stress

    The college recognised the additional stress and inconvenience to students and extended study hours have been provided at the library.

    “The protection of academic integrity and assessment is of the utmost importance at DkIT and the institute follows best practice to ensure security of its examinations process.

    "As part of the current investigation, an extensive review of our examination processes and procedures will be carried out,” said Dr Healy.

    “I would like the thank our students for their continued understanding and co-operation during this process.”