We have had another few busy weeks here in Abbeyleix. The biggest job was the silage.

I had decided to mow our red clover silage and a few surplus paddocks on the milking platform for bales, and I was planning on leaving the pit silage for another few days.

I started mowing on Sunday 19 May. It was a great day and when I saw how dry the grass was in the first paddock, I decided at 12 o’clock, we would go ahead and mow for the pit as well. It was only giving Sunday and Monday good and we had 90ac to mow.

I rang our contractor, Declan, who does the baling for us, to see if he could help me mow.

Otherwise, I would have been mowing well into the early hours of the morning. He was able to, and we had the 90ac mowed at 9pm on Sunday night.

In the meantime, we had to try and organise drivers for Monday, as we do our own silage and it was such a late decision.

Teething problems

To add to the excitement, our new-to-us harvester was arriving at 7am on Monday. This is our first self-propelled; we had always run a trailed harvester previously.

We got going at around 11am on Monday, but we had some teething problems with the harvester’s metal detector and didn’t get properly going until after lunch.

With that delay, we didn’t get finished until midnight, but the grass got a great wilt and drying, as Monday was a great day.

The local takeaway dropped us out a great feed just as we finished.

Luckily it didn’t rain overnight and we got the pit covered Tuesday morning, although we did get a heap of rain and thunder while covering it. It was a real smash-and-grab job getting the pit done, but there was no effluent out of it after, so we got great drying on it.

We got 90 bales off the 30ac of red clover and paddocks. It’s only three bales per acre, but I am happy to have it baled up in excellent conditions and back growing now, considering the weather is so unpredictable.

Our last growth rate was 102kg DM/ha

We went at the slurry then as all the tanks were full again after already being emptied in the spring. We hired a 4,000-gallon tanker, and with that and our own tank, we got 60ac covered with 2,500 gallons per acre with the dribble bar in two days.

Milk recording

The week before we went at the silage I got our second milk recording done. It showed up four cows with a somatic cell count (SCC) of over one million, when we carried out a California Mastitis Test on them, only two actually showed up on the paddle.

We treated the two with four garlic-based mastitis tubes.

If they work it’s great and if they don’t work we will then go with antibiotic tubes.

The AI is going very well with only three cows not served in three weeks. They will be scanned this week and hopefully will only need an injection of estrumate.

Cows are currently doing 27 litres at 4.17% fat, 3.57% protein and 119,000 SCC.

We also got a new safety rail fitted on the silage wall, the week before we cut. I had applied for a grant for this through the farm safety TAMS section.

We also received payment for the PTO covers we bought under the National Farm Safety Measure, last week.

Dad was also busy keeping the crops up to date with spraying.

Grass growth has really exploded and we will need to walk the farm every five days to keep on top of quality.

Our last growth rate was 102kg DM/ha. I have another three paddocks taken out of the rotation for bales.