We have almost finished our first cut silage, later than I would like but we delayed cutting to let the dock spray work fully over the three week recommended period between spraying and cutting.

The control has been spectacular but it was badly needed, as some of the silage ground was a mass of unsightly docks after the slurry.

The gate has been closed on the winter barley fields, while the spring gluten free oats have had their growth regulator and first protective spray. This is our first ever crop of spring oats, so everything is much later than normal.

In fact it has been one of the busiest late springs I can remember, with winter and spring crops having to be fertilised and sprayed at different times, as well as extra cattle being in with land not fit to graze early in the season, which is putting pressure on slurry storage and workload.

We have got through it, but the cost will be really apparent as the harvest is done and the cattle weighed and extra feed costed.

Regulations

I have just received a first class summary from my local Teagasc office of the updated regulatory framework in which I am expected to operate. The list is formidable, and is going to cause significant expense on many farms.

The increase in the number of weeks of slurry storage and the obligation to use low emission slurry equipment on all arable land are going to effect me straight away.

Looking at my soil analysis results, I see that the four years will be up this autumn, so a full soil sampling will have to be organised. Meanwhile, the ban on having drinking points in water courses is one of the regulations I most resent.

Livestock farmers in the past would always have wanted a farm with a spring feeding a stream that never ran dry. Now, farmers have to pump it up from the river, rather than let cattle into the river so that livestock can always have access to water. Times change.