The crucial May measurements for the staff in Kilkenny are grass and condition score. There are lots of other measures taken, such as the number of cows bred, rain and milk sales, but in terms of long-term influence and weekly importance, grass and herd condition score take priority in May.
May is an important month for conserving winter feed in Kilkenny. It’s the one month of the year that you are almost guaranteed excellent growth from rain and sunshine. More importantly, it is possible to fuel the fire with nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur. Remember, this farm is dry and windswept and is often crying out for rain from mid-June onwards, so May is the one month you can depend on for quality grass and building winter feed stocks. It is safe to push the stocking rate high and be fairly safe that you can deliver on the required growth. There are 30ha stopped for first-cut silage, so that leaves 90ha for grazing (3.56 cows/ha) but some of this area will be taken out as short-term silage, depending on growth. Therefore, the stocking rate will vary a little from week to week. Silage has generally been growing well for the last month. Last week for the first time, pre-grazing covers went ahead of the cows, so farm manager Tom Lyng made the decision to take out three paddocks for a light cut of silage. He made 138 bales from 46 acres (three bales/acre).