Farmer Focus livestock: Jim Dwyer welcomes some warmth

As I write there is heat in the air for the first time this year, but it’s frightening to think the weather is only just settling down.


Some of my farming colleagues have had a difficult spring, with cows back indoors. Buying in expensive feed, loss of milk volume and constituents and poor milk prices means many are under financial pressure. And with cash flow tight on many dairy farms, Grainne and I are questioning every euro we spend, reviewing our cash-flow every few weeks.


The good weather has allowed us to get our fodder beet sown and some reseeding done, although we have yet to sow our kale and hybrid ryegrass on our out farm. Poor growth rates have limited the amount of silage we have closed up, but we have leased a 53-acre block of land near us and half of this we have closed for silage. Winter feed is going to be in short supply, so we will be monitoring the situation for the rest of the year.


Our calves are thriving well on grass, and 50 have been weaned so far. We have not been happy with our calf rearing over the past few years, so we set a weaning weight of 85kg, irrespective of age, and this has made a big difference. Weaning Jersey-cross heifers at this weight gives them a good start.


Milk solids are moving up, with butterfat at 4.25% and protein at 3.42%. We need another push to match last year’s level, but at least they are rising.


The European and local elections are coming up and it’s great that, as a democracy, we can express our opinions of what is going on in our country. It’s something we should cherish, as many don’t have this privilege.


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