Newford Farm took advantage of a brief window of relatively good weather on Tuesday and Wednesday and managed to get first-cut silage mowed and picked without any rain.

Matthew Murphy reports that with a 48-hour window forecast without any rain, he walked the 44 acres of meadow on Coen’s farm and 12 acres on Tuohy’s outfarm (for baled silage) on Tuesday morning to assess ground conditions and took a decision to cut.

The judgment proved fruitful, with the crop mowed on Tuesday and picked on Wednesday without any rain.

The yield of the crop was reduced, which was expected given the poor growth rates so far this year. Quality, however, was described as first rate and the focus was to ensure the farm had a source of high-feed-value silage for feeding to weanlings and finishing cattle.

Matthew says the decision to cut was also helped by the fact the farm has a full pit of silage left over from 2020 and this contains in the region of 400t of silage.

He says an assessment will now be made of the volume of silage contained in this week’s pit and this, along with a fodder budget, will form the basis of how much ground will be closed for a second cut.

The 12 acres of meadow on Tuohy’s farm yielded in the region of five bales per acre, while another light paddock also taken out of the rotation yielded three bales per acre.

The surplus paddock was taken out at such a light cover because clover has been incorporated into a number of paddocks this year, with the farm currently working to low grazings to encourage better establishment.

Breeding progress

The final handful of cows which were not served in the first 19 days of the breeding season have been inseminated.

Repeat levels are relatively low, with 18 cows repeating in the last two weeks.

Matthew also reports the synchronisation programme used on the heifers looks to be successful, with just two more heifers repeating in the last week to 10 days.

This brings the figure to seven heifers repeating six weeks after insemination.