We were clearly too smug a few weeks ago when I mentioned that we had got enough slurry spread to avoid any further problems for this feeding season.

With no cattle out full-time, though we hope to have some out this week, the spring of 2024 is the worst I ever remember as regards grazing conditions.

It has also of course been the worst I can remember for spring tillage work following an extraordinarily difficult autumn. The net result is that we have used the unsown oats and bean ground to absorb the extra slurry that has been produced.

We have only put out about 1,500 gallons per acre on the unploughed land, so from a fertility point of view the outcome should be positive.

I am more concerned at the possible compaction damage with slurry tankers crossing over the land.

The slurry tanker has wide tyres and so has the four-wheel-drive tractor and visually there doesn’t seem to be much compression but with the benefit of hindsight, we would have been advised to at least investigate the availability of an umbilical system in the area.

Slurry levels

We have controlled the slurry levels at this stage and there is a lot of work building up.

The winter barley has to have its weeds controlled, while the oilseed rape has to have boron applied and its second split of nitrogen before it gets too tall for the fertiliser spreader to operate effectively.

Meanwhile, on the grass side, we have been unable to graze all the land intended for first cut so we will apply less nitrogen to what is already a good sward of grass and aim to take a high-quality first cut.

We were all deeply saddened at Paddy Dunican’s untimely and tragic death.

Between his long-standing roles as manager of Kilbeggan racecourse and at every National Ploughing Championships, he was known and hugely liked by thousands. The church in Kilbeggan was packed for both the evening removal and the funeral. May he rest in peace.