Cover crops are grown to supply green cover to the soil. Cover crops will help prevent soil erosion while also supressing weeds. Some cover crops can also reduce incidence of pests and disease. Cover crops provide benefits for tillage and livestock farmers. For tillage farmers they take up nutrients from the soil while they grow, these nutrients are then absorbed back into the soil when the crop gets incorporated before planting of the next crop. Incorporating the plants back into the soil will increase the organic matter levels in the soil over time and benefit soil structure.
Brassica cover crops are excellent feed and produce highly digestible fibre. They can grow rapidly and can be grazed once the plant is at least 10 inches tall but grazing usually starts in late October when livestock would usually be housed.
There is a number of options available but as we move into August the options reduce as does the yield potential. The most suitable crops to sow in August include:
- Fodder Rape
- Stubble Turnips
- Hybrid Brassica
Sowing rate: 10 kg/Ha Drill, 11 kg/Ha Broadcast
Yield: 3.5-4.5 Ton DM/Ha
Sowing Rate: 5 kg /Ha Drill, 7 kg/Ha Broadcast
Yield: 4 Ton DM/Ha
Hybrid Brassicas – Redstart
Sowing Rate: 9 kg /Ha Drill, 10 kg/Ha Broadcast
Yield: 6-8 Ton DM/ Ha
- When grazing forage crops, it is important that the brassica crop accounts for no greater than 70% of the total dry matter intake of the animal. Build up to 70% of the diet slowly.
- Grazing in long narrow strips is the most effective method of grazing forage crops.
- Do not feed frozen brassicas to animals, it can cause nitrite poisoning
- Ensure the fence being used is regularly checked for power and isn’t being earthed off the crop
- Graze from the top of a hill to the bottom to reduce runoff
- Ensure animals always have access to fresh water
Dairy Hygiene, Controlling SCC over the Summer Months
Liffey Mills provide a comprehensive range of teat sprays to cater for all requirements. With the positive outlook for summer milk prices, it is important to choose wisely between a quality spray and good value for money. Our 'SURE C' teat spray offers both.
Sure C has a number of advantages over rival products. It contains cationic surfactants that act by disrupting cellular matter on the cows teat, while also preventing the ingress of pathogenic organisms into the teat canal by creating a physical barrier, preventing the spread of mastitis from an infected quarter to a non-infected quarter.
This chlorhexidine based spray also contains glycerine, which is derived from natural plant extracts. This acts as a moisturiser/skin conditioner ensuring cows teat are in the best possible condition, preventing cracking which in turn leads to fly irritation and the spread of disease. This ready to use teat spray can be used both pre and post milking and is available in both 25L drums, and 200L barrels as well as in IBC tanks.
For further queries or advice on this or any other of our extensive range of dairy hygiene products including, caustic powder, liquid detergent, de-scaler, peracetic acid, milk liners etc. contact your local branch.
With the price and availability uncertainty surrounding fertilizer early in the year, spring reseeds were the last thing on a lot of farmers minds, however with farmers now knowing where we stand to a certain extent, it is time to start thinking about reseeding into the Autumn. Although input costs have greatly increased for reseeding ground, grass still remains our cheapest source of fodder and utilisation becomes increasingly important coming into the final rotations. Liffey Mills have a wide range of grass seed mixtures to cater for all soil types and farm enterprises, from gold sward to sweet sward, silage sward, to sward maker, and new to the market this year is what we believe to be an excellent option for progressive highly intensive grazing systems 'TETRA SWARD'. This is a 100% tetraploid mix containing 1 kilo of naked clover which scores well for persistence, as well as the top 3 varieties for digestibility based off of the Teagasc Pasture Profit Index (PPI), Aston Energy, Nashota, and Xenon. This blend is guaranteed to yield exceptional tonnes of highly digestible forage throughout the grazing season.
For further information on our grass seed range visit www.liffeymills.ie or contact your local technical sales advisor.
Harvest Update 2022
Harvest 2022 got off to an unusually early start largely due to the extended period of dry weather causing crops to turn that little bit quicker than usual. Winter barley was the first crop to roll in and early signs were a small bit worrying with bushel scores only coming in in the low 50s KpH (Kilograms per Hectolitre). As the crop continued to pour in bushel scores improved dramatically and levelled out somewhere in the mid-60s where most farmers would be hoping to, and usually do hit. In terms of tonnage, yields in the Liffey Mills catchment are varied anywhere between 2.5tons/acre to 4tons/acre depending on location. Coming off the back of an excellent growing year last year it is hard to use it as a benchmark and by in large most growers have been happy with the return overall. As a result of the early start most winter barley cops have been harvested and the focus now turns to the other winter crops along with the imminent ripening of spring crops. With no real signs of prolonged or heavy periods of rain it seems we are in for a compact harvest period. With new legislations introduced meaning farmers must cultivate tillage ground 14 days after harvesting their crop it means it's still shoulder to the wheel time. In recent years farmers have got into the mind set of using cover crops. This gives numerous benefits whether that be to the purely tillage farmer or the tillage and livestock farmer. For the tillage farmer it gives them a chance to give back to the soil in the sense of either fixing nitrogen in the form of legumes or giving soil structure through the use of Brassicas and their tap roots. The mixed farmer can reap similar benefits, along with giving back to the soil a grazing of high-quality feed over the winter months becomes an option. Cover crops are extremely fast growing and can be grazed after 10 to 12 weeks after sowing.