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HomeDairyVIDEO: How this farmer maintained his farm cover during a drought
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VIDEO: How this farmer maintained his farm cover during a drought

Barry O’Sullivan farms with his parents in Ardcath, Co. Meath, milking 120 cows on a 36-hectare milking platform.

The O’Sullivans have been impacted by the recent dry weather, which led to Barry making a number of decisions to manage grass and cow performance.

In early May, grass growth on the farm reduced to 55kg Dm/Ha/day and, as a result of the continuing dry weather, the growth rate eventually dropped to 37kg DM/Ha/day.

Decisions

Explaining how he dealt with this problem, Barry said: “I didn’t want to increase meal, so I brought a field that was earmarked for silage back into the grazing system.”

“This then pushed out my rotation to 25 days, so I managed to hold my farm cover at 500kg DM/ha. My demand dropped to 53kg DM/ha/day from 68. There was about 2,500kg DM/ha on the silage ground, which I strip grazed in 12-hour allocations.”

Once he had the silage ground grazed, growth had dropped to 37kg DM/ha/day, so a decision was made to introduce silage to the diet.

He supplemented the diet with 5kg of silage per cow/day along with 4kg of meal and 10kg of grass. This dropped demand down to 36kg DM/ha, meaning that demand had matched growth.

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He used strip wires to make sure cows graze the paddocks down whilst on silage and not allow them to become lazy and waste grass.

“Because of the decisions to date, I have kept the grass cover, kept grass in the diet and the performance of the cow hasn’t dropped.”

Video source: Teagasc YouTube

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