With silage ground closed on many farms, we are entering into peak demand, and therefore growth needs to peak at the same time. Application needs to be tailored to meet your stocking rate.

If you feel you have excess grass, don’t be afraid to close extra fields for silage.

Is there an opportunity to grow some extra silage in 2024? With silage stocks low on many farms you should try and bank up a buffer again. I received a lot of feedback on last week’s fertiliser article.

There was an error on the Mayo farm which should have stated that 70kg of P was allowed on that farm with assumed Index 3 soil samples.

There is still a lot of confusion in relation to fertiliser that can be spread on farms and how this is calculated.

Basic Payment Scheme Application

Give your BPS application the time it deserves. With the application deadline of 15 May fast approaching, you need to sit down and make sure all details are correct on the form and the maps.

If changes are required, make an appointment with your adviser and outline the changes to them on the map and the form.

All BPS applications need to be completed online. Forms can be filled out via your own agfood login or an adviser can complete the application for you.

If you have entitlements to lease in, lease out or sell, it’s important to get this completed in time. Don’t expect to get an adviser appointment quickly at this time of year as all advisers are very busy filling out forms for farmers.

Grass Tetany

With cold nights, heavy showers and a surge in growth, grass tetany could be an issue in the coming days. Caused by a deficiency of magnesium (Mg) in the blood, this is a rapidly fatal condition in beef and dairy cows, and a common cause of sudden death.

Suckler cows have a poor capability of storing magnesium in their bodies and need a daily supply to prevent deficiency. It is common with suckler cows when they are grazing very bare pastures, as well as lush ones.

This grass is frequently low in Mg due to quick growth and heavy slurry spreading, which is high in potassium and can have a negative effect on Mg uptake.

It can be associated with stress like transport, wet weather, cows in heat or changes in diet or pasture. It’s vital that veterinary attention is sought immediately and a mixture of calcium and magnesium can be given along with some sedation to calm the animal. Ways of controlling or preventing grass tetany include:

  • Feeding high Mg concentrates.
  • The addition of Mg to the drinking water. (this can be questionable in periods of wet weather)
  • Buffer feeding with hay or straw.
  • Avoiding the grazing of cows on pastures that have had heavy slurry applications or the application of high potassium fertilisers.
  • Giving free access to high Mg minerals, either by way of powder mineral or mineral licks.
  • The use of magnesium bullets – at least two bullets/boluses should be used per cow which will release Mg at a controlled rate each day for four to six weeks.