‘Rare’ third cuts set to become more common

Third cuts of silage are a rare sight in Co. Cavan, but some farmers will have to push hard for them this year if they are to have enough fodder to get them through the winter, according to one local agricultural contractor.

Brendan Byrd – of Byrd Agri Contractors – believes that a lot of farmers will be keen to get a third cut this year if the weather allows.

Based in Kilnaleck, Co. Cavan, Brendan runs an agri contracting operation alongside his sons – Gavin and Jamie; this season the Byrds changed their trailed forage harvester for a self-propelled Claas.

Speaking to AgriLand, Brendan said: “A lot of farmers up our side have their second cuts eaten already. The forage harvester is sitting at the moment.

Farmers will have to go for third cuts. Without a doubt, this winter will be worse than last year in terms of fodder.

Continuing, the contractor noted that the cost of buying fodder this year will be extremely high – adding that: “Every time there’s a famine, everything is three times the price.”

The contracting outfit is also busy at slurry, with last weekend’s rain “softening the ground a bit”. In recent years, the Byrds invested in an umbilical slurry spreading system with a dribble bar attachment.

Byrd Agri Contractors at slurry

Farmers ‘holding out for rain’ in Co. Cork

At the other end of the country, farmers in Co. Cork are holding out for rain in the hope that it will “bulk up” second cuts of silage, according to David Dennehy – an agricultural contractor based in Ballyhooly.

As it stands, second cuts are “very scarce and very sparse” at the moment, the contractor said.

Currently, the fleet is busy harvesting wholecrop cereals – wheat and barley – and making large square bales. Both of the contractor’s umbilical slurry spreading systems are also “flat out spreading watery slurry”.
Dennehy Agricultural Contractors at wholecrop

Commenting on the current situation, Dennehy said: “We could see second and third-cut silage clashing with maize harvesting this year.”

He believes that there should be more cooperation between livestock farmers, tillage farmers and agricultural contractors in future to ensure that sufficient fodder is grown in the country.