Farmer Focus Livestock: Jim Dwyer completes second-cut silage

We managed to avoid the rain and got our second cut silage made in the second week of August. It is the first time in years that we have taken a second cut, but it was necessary as our first cut was so poor.

The silage yield was disappointing and one of our pits is still not full – we will now have to calculate the winter feed we have, see how much we are short and replace the deficit, if it exists.

It is important to do this now, as we may be able to source alternative feeds at a lower cost now, rather than later in the winter.

We are locked up with TB again, as are a lot of our neighbours. Motorway building is going on not too far away and, as seen all over the country, wildlife moves in these situations and spreads the disease. We have lost some good cows over the past few months, and while the compensation is good, it never replaces the years of breeding that has gone into these animals.

Our milk volume is holding up well and our solids are reasonable, at about 3.7% protein and 4.6% fat. We are disappointed with milk yield this year, but this seems to be a problem with every dairy farmer I speak to – I suppose we have to put it down to a difficult spring.

Irish dairy farmers are under a lot of financial pressure with low milk prices and an expensive year because of bad weather. There is fear as to what the winter will bring when there is little cash flow and banks will still not lend money to bridge the gap. The present liquidity problems with banks were not created by farmers, but it seems we have to pay the price like many others.

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