30 Mar Farming Tips for April
Number of straws: it takes about 5.5 straws to end up with one heifer milking in the parlour in 2020. How many heifers do you want entering your herd in 2020? If you want 25 milking heifers then you must use at least 140 dairy straws across cows and maiden heifers this season.
Labour saving: How many grazing’s are you getting from each paddock? Are you using a 12 hour wire throughout the summer? Farmers experience suggests that three grazing’s per paddock minimises work with wires and is ideal for grass growth and animal performance.
Grass tetany: Cows require 30gms of Magnesium (Mg) daily to prevent tetany. This is the equivalent to 60gm of Calmag.
Sulphur: 30% of Irish soils require sulphur for optimal growth. Soils which most likely show deficiency are sandy free draining soils with low organic matter. When purchasing Nitrogen in bulk, use a sulphur containing product in high risk areas.
Heat detection: Over 70% of cows come into heat between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. On average each heat lasts for 9 hours (range 3-30 hours). This is a very short window of opportunity to identify cows. Also as the number of cows in heat in the herd decreases, so too does mounting activity. Therefore, after the first three weeks of breeding, it is critical that you continue to use a heat detection aid.
Grass Wedge: Farmers who walk the farm each week and use the grass wedge to make decisions have full control over the nutrition of their herd. They know for the next week or 10 days if there is too much feed (grass getting stemmy) or too little feed on the farm. Neither is good for the cow. Aim for a pre grazing cover of 1300-1400 kg DM/Ha.
Fertiliser N: 100 units/acre of N by May 1st. Aim for 1 unit of N per day of rotation. First cut silage requires 100 units of N, 16-20 units of P and 120 units of K.