Roscommon’s Éanna is ready to take the Smart Farming challenge
Éanna Tiernan and his dad Michael have a Charolais Limousin cross weanling-to-forward store farming enterprise, near Elphin in Co. Roscommon. They sell store heifers off the farm each year.

Éanna knows the value of good grassland management, operating a rotational paddock grazing system. This ensures better grassland management on the farm.

However, Éanna also knows further improvements can be made. He is ready to take the Smart

Farming challenge, saying, “I heard that Smart Farming can help me to identify cost savings of at least €5,000 and ways to reduce my climate impact by 5-7%. To deliver this I have already sent in my fuel, feed and energy bills along with water, soil and silage samples to the Smart Farming team. They are coming to do a farm visit next week to identify cost savings.

I hope the savings identified will make a real difference to the bottom line here on the farm. Hopefully these savings will also benefit the environment for the local community and wider catchment.”

Spread fertilisers now to build winter feed stocks, advises Mark Plunkett, Teagasc

Second cut grass silage is an important crop on many farms, in order to replenish valuable winter feed reserves. To maximise the productivity of second cut silage, fertilise adequately with sufficient levels of nitrogen (N) phosphorous (P) and potassium (K).

The table below shows the fertiliser requirements (off takes) for second cut silage. This is based on grass yields of 2 to 4t DM/ha. The fertiliser programmes are shown with and without cattle slurry.

Think about the nutrient value of slurry

1. Slurry is a valuable source of N, P and K.

2. Summer application of 1,000 gallons of cattle slurry typically contains 3 units N, 5 units P and 32 units K.

3. Aim to recycle slurry on silage fields and apply under cool conditions.

4. Application with low emission techniques increase slurry N values by 3 units/ 1,000 gallons.

5. Aim to apply additional P & K for soil fertility build-up after second cut harvest.

Energy proof your home with €6,000 grant

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) encourages people to reduce their energy costs and improve the energy performance of their homes through the Better Energy Homes programme.

Cash grants from €50 up to €6,000 are available from the SEAI. Full details are available at www.seai.ie/betterenergyhomes or lo-call 1850 927 000.

For more information on Smart Farming visit www.smartfarming.ie

Improving your Oilseed Rape Harvest Management
This season more than ever correct pre-harvest Roundup® Brands desiccation will be essential for growers.

The winter and spring weather conditions have resulted in a range of pod maturities within the canopy. Increasingly growers have drilled hybrid varieties at lower seed rates, plants produce thicker stems and with the application of growth regulators and fungicides there is more moisture left in the plant at maturity.

Desiccation with Roundup Brands will be the key to ensure more timely and reliable harvesting, fewer volunteers, savings in drying costs, and earlier entry to following crop.

What are the main benefits of using Roundup Brands for harvest management?

Far less troublesome combining – 91%

Valuable extra weed control – 82%

Less drying cost – 80%

More reliable harvest timing – 76%

The Timing Guide for Efficient Harvesting of Oilseed Rape

Apply Roundup Brands when the crop moisture content of the Oilseed rape seeds is below 30%. This may be determined visually by following the 3 steps detailed below.

1. Select an area of the crop which is representative of the field. Pick, at random, a total of 20 pods from the middle of the main raceme.

2. Open each pod. If a colour change from green to brown is seen in at least two thirds of the seeds per pod in at least fifteen of the pods picked, the earliest correct stage for spraying has been reached. However, if approximately half the seeds have turned brown, the crop should be ready in 3 days, but repeat the procedure to check that the correct stage has been reached. NB. Spraying too early will lead to poor desiccation.

3. Repeat the procedure in other areas of the crop to check assessment is applicable to the entire field. Spray within 4 days, unless the weather is very cool, then the window can be extended to 7 days.

Harvesting – The statutory harvest interval is 14 days, up to 21 days may be necessary before combining .

Weed stage – For effective control of weeds they must be healthy and actively growing. Weeds that have senesced or died back or are suffering from drought may not be as susceptible.

For further advice on improving your harvest management visit https://www.monsanto-ag.co.uk/ireland/oilseed-rape-harvest-management/

Saving money while reducing the workload
“It definitely saves money, a healthy cow is a profitable cow. If you have to get the vet to clean out a cow it delays breeding, it delays everything.” Mike McCarthy is farming in Co. Limerick.

Mike’s farm is naturally deficient in selenium and this needed careful attention each year.

In 2013 a national Teagasc survey highlighted that dairy cows receive only 38% of their required selenium from grass. This reinforced earlier work which has shown that over 90% of grass and silage is either low or very low in selenium. Selenium is very important for a number of functions within the cow and has been shown to have a considerable effect on fertility, breeding and thrive.

The McCarthys started using selenium in their fertiliser back in 2014. They were aware of a selenium deficiency on farm and had been blood sampling twice a year to keep an eye on it. Cows retaining cleanings was not uncommon on the farm and calves were often very lethargic when born. Since switching to using Gouldings selenium fertilisers Mike has almost forgotten they had a selenium deficiency. The selenium is taken up by grass and silage and is now fed throughout the year. “It’s in the diet, it’s there, without having to artificially replace it.” It is seldom now that a cow would retain cleanings and calves are much livelier when born. Mike has also cut out administering selenium injections to the herd.

The easiest way to establish whether your farm has a selenium deficiency is to carry out a mineral scan on either grass or silage or to carry out a blood test on a number of animals. Cows require 0.30mg/kg of selenium in their diet so for grass and silage mineral scans, less than 0.16mg/kg can be considered low while less than 0.08mg/kg can be considered very low. The average selenium content in Ireland is 0.11mg/kg.

Mike spreads 4 bags per acre of selenium fertiliser on grazing and silage ground. He usually starts his years application with Selenistart, the next product he uses then depends on soil fertility. Lower P + K sites receive Selenigraze while fields which receive slurry and have good soil fertility receive Selenigrass. Mike spreads Selenicut for silage ground.

The Gouldings Selenium range also includes 18’s + Selenium as well as the products that Mike has been using, namely Selenistart (urea + selenium), Selenigrass (CAN + selenium), Selenigraze + Sulphur (24½-2½-5 + Sulphur + Selenium) and Selenicut (20-2-12 + Sulphur + Selenium). If you have any further queries on selenium and fertiliser please contact your local fertiliser stockist or Gouldings Fertilisers directly on 021-4911611