Irish Cattle Farms Short of Feed

IRELAND - Summer weather conditions have left many farmers with inadequate fodder to meet their requirements.
calendar icon 9 September 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Many farmers have little to no winter fodder.

Teagasc nutritionist, Dr Siobhan Kavanagh, said: "It is important that farmers do not panic and buy expensive silage. When 40-50 per cent of the normal forage requirements are secured, a combination of options can be used to manage the deficit. This may involve reducing stock numbers before the winter, lengthening the grazing season and when animals are housed, restricting the amount of silage offered to stock, and making up the deficit by feeding extra meals to the animals. ;

"This year, in particular, cereals represent good value for money, compared to the prices currently being quoted for baled silage. Farmers cannot afford to pay more than €18-23 per bale for silage of 65-70 DMD, compared to a high energy 14 per cent crude protein ration at €165-185/tonne."

The Irish Independant suggest weaning the earlier-born calves and housing the weaned cows or putting them on rough grazing if available. Leave the calves on the best grass and feed 1-3kg meal per day depending on breed, quality, market date, etc. The later-born calves should also be put on meal, either on creep in the field or in the shed with the cows.

Those with late silage yet to be harvested should watch out for a few reasonable days in succession. Follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Harvest whatever is possible by leaving out the wetter areas of a field;
  • Leave large headlands uncut to take machinery;
  • Drive machinery smoothly and avoid sharp turning;
  • Open new gaps and gateways to fields;
  • Don't fill trailers fully and haul bales to the wrapper at the storage area so that there are fewer machines in the field;
  • Large, low-pressure tyres on harvesting machinery are a big advantage in wet conditions.


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