The results of the CSO December 2019 Livestock Survey show that the provisional estimate for the total number of sheep was 3,908,300 an increase of 109,800 on December 2018.
The number of dairy cows increased by 56,700 (+4.1%) while cattle 2 years and over (excluding cows and bulls) increased by 23,000 (+5.2%). According to DAFM data, dairy cow numbers as of the 1st of March were up by 5%.
Overall, the total number of calves registered so far this year amounts to 1,649,787 head compared to 1,585,221 in 2019. Surprisingly, the number of beef calves registered as 1 May has also increased by 3.3 %.
Calf exports from the Republic of Ireland up to the week ending May 5 to other EU destinations are well behind 2019 levels, according to the Department of Agriculture.
So, we will need a lot more silage available for feeding to livestock next winter and spring. Making extra silage is not an option on many farmers and it is an unwelcome extra expense.
However, one solution is to minimise storage losses for baled or clamp silage preserved on Irish farms.
Believe it or not, the average farm has 20-25% dry matter (DM) losses in clamped silage.
If it costs almost €140 per tonne of DM to clamp silage, then by feed out, at a 20% DM loss rate, this equates to a cost of over €170 per tonne of DM.
Visqueen Clingseal has the ability to eliminate surface spoilage and is an essential tool in tackling losses during the ensiling and storage stages.
However minimising losses through oxygen expulsion is also vital during the three key stages of harvest/filling, storage and feed-out.
As regards baled silage a Film & Film trial conducted on a commercial farm in England using Baletite and Silotite had:
- 7.5% less dry matter (DM) losses on Film & Film bales compared to net-wrap bales, due to an enhanced fermentation process.
- 80% less DM losses on Film&Film bales compared to net-wrap bales, due to mould formation on the bale.
- An overall 52% reduction on Film & Film bales compared to net-wrap bales in DM losses.
The reduced losses that resulted through the use of the Film & Film wrapping system meant that the farmer on this farm gained more forage to feed to his herd.
For further information on forage crop protection products, click here.