Multi-species swards on a Tipperary-based farm are having slightly mixed results with protein being hit, but litres driving on and cows appearing very happy grazing it.
This is what David Kehoe told Agriland on a recent farm visit to check out his new dairy unit – comprising of a 16-unit parlour and handling facilities.
From having a chat about the farm, David spoke about how he sowed roughly 8ac of a multi-species mix on the milking platform.
The mix consists of ryegrass, white clover, chicory and plantain – the latter of which are having trouble persisting in the sward after three years.
Speaking about the multispecies sward and how it is working out and how it is impacting on production, David said: “Originally, we got into sowing multi-species swards when we had sheep as we found it great for fattening lambs.
“So when I decided to switch to cows, I said I’d go back to it again and I have sowed about 8ac – which consists of a ryegrass, white clover, plantain and chicory mix.
“With the way the price of fertiliser is and with slurry becoming more valuable, I’ll definitely be looking to keep going with it [rolling it out further on the farm] if I can manage it right.
“There is still some of it dotted around the farm from when we had the sheep which is going back four years now and the ryegrass and clover are still growing fine.
“Its more the chicory and plantain which appear to be struggling to persist in the sward, particularly the plantain after about three years,” he added.
“The best way we find of managing it is grazing it tight and topping it at least twice a year.
“There no sprays you can use to deal with weeds, as it will kill the chicory and plantain – so that’s why you need to graze it tight.
“Looking at production, overall I’m happy with how cows have been performing on it. Litres-wise, its driving litres but it’s knocking protein each time they graze it – which I can’t understand why.
“This is its second grazing season so, overall I’m happy with it – it’s something new and if I can manage it right I think it will work well.”