Dairy farmer Martin Crowe from Carrigmore, Co Limerick, is heading into the thick of calving season. A calf had just been born when the Irish Farmers Journal visited the farm last Friday. It’s a busy time on the farm, with 160 cows and 40 heifers due to calve down.

Martin is also planning his fertiliser for the year ahead.

Martin’s focus is cutting back on his artificial N use, and over the past couple of years, he has decreased his use from almost 200kg of nitrogen per hectare to 93kg N/ha last year. In order to achieve the level of chemical N usage on the farm today, Martin has oversown clover on his milking platform and put in 15ac of multi-species swards. This cut in artificial N, equivalent to 15t of urea, has allowed Martin to save €15,000 based on last year’s fertiliser prices.