Up to 50% of dairy cows calved in parts of Cork

Dairy farmers in the Mallow area of Co. Cork are confirming that between 25% and 50% of their cows are now calved, according to Teagasc advisor Sean Cooney.

“Farmers are practising on:off grazing techniques so as to get the maximum amount of grazed grass into their cows.

“Three hours’ grazing at this time of the year is worth €2.70/cow/day to the farmer.

“This figure takes account of the milk produced and the savings accrued when account is taken of the fact that grazed grass is a much cheaper source of feed, when compared with silage and concentrates.

“Given the poor weather, it’s unlikely that cows will be put out into the paddocks today. However, most herdowners had calved cows out last weekend.”

From a management point of view, the objective is to make best use of grass without damaging swards.

“This is why the utilisation of on:off grazing techniques with back fencing and spur roadways is so important at this time of the year.”

Cooney said that freshly calved cows, having access to grazed grass, are being offered 3kg to 4kg of concentrate per day.

“Those on silage only should be offered between 6kg to 7kg of ration.”

Cooney confirmed that there are large quantities of grazed grass available to cows in east Cork at the present time.

“The target is to have 30% of the entire grazing block grazed during February.”

Where farmers are failing to hit this target, I am advising them to put cows into those paddocks with lighter covers first.

“This is to ensure there is enough grass for the second rotation.”

Cooney confirmed that farmers in east Cork would have spread half a bag of urea per acre on grazing ground at the end of January.

“The target is to have a total of 1.5 bags spread by the beginning of April. This works out at 70 units of Nitrogen per acre.”