September silage brings activity to the fields

In a bid to narrow fodder deficits on farms, farmers have been busy mowing and collecting silage over recent days.

Many acres of grassland have been mowed, as farmers in areas hardest hit by this summer’s drought strive to gather as much fodder as possible before the winter descends.

In addition, where grass growth is in surplus – particularly in the west – farmers have taken out surplus grass as baled silage.

Co-ops and contractors have all noted a spike in demand and activity over recent days, with the former witnessing strong sales of plastic and net wrap.

However, the lateness of this season’s second/third cut silage harvest is adding pressure to contractors’ workloads. Many are busy tackling maize this week and their reliance on seasonal workers – especially students – has become more and more evident.

When it comes to yield, early indications suggest that crops are yielding relatively well. However, many crops are high in nitrogen and testing is advisable before mowing.

Although wilting can help to ease this issue during warm, hot days, achieving a good wilt will be difficult at this time of year. This comes as the days are shorter now and grass dry matter levels are running low.

The weather

For farmers considering mowing this week, keeping a careful eye on the weather forecast is a must.

According to Met Eireann, a good deal of dry weather will be around on Thursday (today, September 27), but patchy outbreaks of rain/drizzle will gradually extend southwards through the day.

Clearer conditions – with northerly breezes – will follow, it says, with temperatures set to reach 13-18°; the warmest of these temperatures will occur over Munster.

Another dry and bright day is expected on Friday, with good sunshine, but it will be cooler with highs of 12-14° in northerly breezes. Grass frost is also expected Friday night, as temperatures are expected to drop to 2-4°.

Moving towards the weekend, Met Eireann says high pressure will continue to bring settle conditions to the country, but it will be cooler with highs of 12-15°. Indications also suggest that early next week will continue to remain dry.