We’re still in a drought situation. Okay, it’s nothing like New South Wales in Australia where the situation is incredibly dire and the earth is brown. However, this is Ireland, the Emerald Isle, where rain is usually never far away and we’re accustomed to rain either spilling, pouring, lashing or spitting at us. The fields have greened up but we’re in a ‘green drought’ whereby the grass just isn’t growing enough to meet demand.
There has been plenty of rain in [...]
From the Frying Pan into the Fire
April 2018 was a tough month. Every week, we hoped that the rain would stop and each week, the weather forecasters dashed our hopes as fields remained waterlogged, grass grew slowly and livestock stayed indoors eating the last of the winter fodder. Many farmers, mostly those on drier land and accustomed to having their livestock out in February and March, ran out of fodder and had to purchase more.
The cows were indoors for months [...]
The launch of my book Till the Cows Come Home has been and gone. I have to admit that in the run up to it, I was thinking to myself that never ever again will I be crazy enough to launch a book in the spring. Let’s just say that most farmers were at silage rather than thinking about attending book launches!
It’s more of a comparison than a tale but like a lot of dairy farmers, we’re constantly trying to improve the quality of our herd and we’ve been working on improving milk solids for a number of years through breeding, milk recording and grass management. When the milk recording information comes, we’re looking at milk volumes for the individual cows but also their fat and protein percentages. Before we started milk recording, the ‘best cows’ were great on volume but [...]
I’m tired. It’s not often that I’m really tired. It has been a busy couple of months: new calf shed being built, 130 calves born, and lots of finishing touches to Till the Cows Come Home which is being published in May. But it’s the relentlessly bad weather and all the extra work that goes with it that has made me tired. We knew the weather wouldn’t be great over Easter but the fact that it is continuing on for [...]