Video: Cork contractor taking out grass for bales…in January

While it may only be January yet, that hasn’t stopped one Cork farmer from getting his silage stores replenished early in the year, taking out paddocks of hybrid grass for bales.

The farmer, Gerry Fleming from Banteer, called in the contractor – Conor O’Flynn – for 16ac of ground this morning (Monday, January 7).

Tom MacAuliffe of Agritech, who facilitated the move, spoke to AgriLand about the thinking behind the baling.

He explained: “There was a good crop on it so he decided that he was going to bale it just to clean it off because it was an outside field and it was very dry.”

McAuliffe noted that the quality isn’t bad, but added that the main reason for cutting is that the grass had grown to the fourth leaf, with the base starting to turn yellow.

“He was afraid that if he left it there with the mild temperatures it was just going to keep lodging. Now it’s not a massive strong crop but it’s just because it’s so mild the base is starting to go a small bit,” McAuliffe said.

It’s probably 80 DMD grass; the moisture content will be the problem, trying to get the wilt. It’s a management tool as well – his fear is that we’ll get a spring like last year and every bit will be wanting.

The Agritech distributor added that Fleming intends putting a sugar boost silage additive on the grass as well to help with the preservation.

“It’s going to be baled using the film-on-film system because he used that last year and he found that the bales preserved very well in it and held their shape, considering the soft stuff that he cut.”

McAuliffe noted that the paddock was last zero-grazed around November 10. Stitched in last May using an Agritech mix, the grass was cut once for silage and zero-grazed twice in the back-end of the year, he added.

“The idea was to zero-graze it again but the contractor that was zero-grazing it got broke down and then the weather broke so it never came off it.”

He added that Fleming decided to “buck the trend” in case this spring is as difficult as 2018, noting that the extra bales could well be wanted.

“Because it’s a hybrid grass – it’s a kind of a cross between an Italian and a perennial – his fear is that it will keep growing and it’ll just lodge and almost smother itself.

“Gerry is afraid if he doesn’t take it off at this stage, in three or four weeks’ time when there’s a fierce cover of stuff there, you don’t know what you’ll be dealing with.”

The contractor, Conor O’Flynn, commented on the quality of the bales.

There were four or five bales to the acre; I was happy enough with it. Growing conditions were very good.

O’Flynn used the job as an opportunity to put his new John Deere R870R butterfly mowers to the test on his 7530. The verdict? “A super job,” he said.