Irish Farmers Journal launches WhatsApp service
Stay up-to-date with all the latest news from the Irish Farmers Journal through WhatsApp.

This week the Irish Farmers Journal launches its WhatsApp service, which will bring breaking news bulletins and updates to your smartphone.

Users will also be able to share their own updates and feedback privately through the service.

The Irish Farmers Journal is the first national newspaper in Ireland to roll out this free service. It will complement our existing social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, but the difference is that subscribers will receive updates instantaneously.

Whatsapp is a messaging app for smartphones which can be used to send links, photos, audio and video. It currently has 800 million users worldwide.

Here are the steps to join:

1. Download WhatsApp to your smartphone and ensure notifications are switched on.

2. Save our WhatsApp number (086) 836 6465 in your phone as Irish Farmers Journal.

3. WhatsApp or text your full name and JOIN to (086) 836 6465.

4. Once we've added you to our broadcast list, you're good to go.

Farmer writes: calendar farming out the window for 2018
Harold Kingston feels the unpredictable weather has lead to work being done when it can be done not just when the dates allow it.

I’m not sure if it’s climate change adaptation or being weather-flexible but calendar farming has gone out the window this year. Having switched to 100% spring calving I had planned to start breeding three weeks earlier on 23 April. I delayed till the start of May in the hopes of better weather and a less-stressed farmer. Better to have a tight calving pattern than only a handful calving in the first 10 days due to poor submissions or the dreaded repeats.

Cow condition is good considering the lack of a spring and there was 80% submission rate in the first 3 weeks with 71% non-return rate. That would give 57% of cows calving in the first 3 weeks next spring, not ground breaking but acceptable.

The original plan with the heifers to keep them close to home and AI for 10 days followed by synchronisation was scrapped. I needed every nearby acre to replenish the empty silos and build a reserve. An 'experienced' Angus bull was tasked to the job on a more remote holding.

Unlike the cow condition, I wasn’t happy with some of my younger maiden heifers. Their plan had been to grow them with early grass. They were inside longer than they were outside as I had to re-house twice, and it showed. It was pointless trying to breed them as I felt they would be too small at calving. A friend was looking at them as he helped me unload the bull to the main bunch and suggested to try them as late calvers instead of an idle year. May grass has done the job March couldn’t and the bull was visibly delighted with his extra work!

My steeple chasing heifer

When checking them last week I spotted one heifer with an obvious springing. I decided to bring her home to see how long before the happy but out-of-season calving event.

My big mistake was to separate her in the field and expect her to walk calmly to a loading yard. Two hours later she made it back to the field after a tour of neighbouring roads, marshes and silage fields. The second attempt was successful with her comrades for company.

I had a vet scanning non-bred cows. All were clean; some coming into heat shortly, some usual late-calving suspects are still to show activity. I believe spending on treatments too early is a waste of time and money. I’ll scan anything not mated again in three weeks to decide what to do.

Meanwhile, my steeple chasing heifer is in calf around thirty days, so the bull is working. The springing is put down to possibly eating something with high oestrogen levels.

Yes, plants have hormones too.

Read more

Farmer writes: the weather is half the work

What farmers can do to tackle climate change

The farmer's daily wrap: milk prices and cost of EID tagging
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories today and weather outlook for Wednesday.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann is forecasting a bright, fresh day once overnight drizzle clears the southeast. Sunny spells and cloudy periods will leave most places dry, although a few showers are expected on northern coasts, moving inland in the north later. Top temperatures will range between 15°C and 18°C in moderate, northwest winds, getting increasingly blustery along northern coasts.

In the news

  • Several dairy processors have cut their milk support payments as the GDT delivered another sluggish sale.
  • The debate on potential underspending in rural development schemes continues, with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed insisting that all TAMS funds will be spent.
  • Almost half of Lakeland suppliers responding to a survey said they were planning to increase milk production.
  • EID tagging has entered the political arena, with suggestions of financial support under the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
  • Coming up this Wednesday

  • Listen to our weekly podcast.
  • The latest from participants in the BETTER farm suckler programme.