‘We could be mowing second cuts in September’

Farmers could be mowing their second-cut silage in September due to current parched conditions, according to CEO of the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) Michael Moroney.

Speaking to AgriLand on the impacts of the ongoing heatwave and drought, Moroney noted that the effects are widespread on current agricultural activity.

Fodder

When asked if contractors are busy with silage cutting or harvesting, the CEO said that there was very little silage activity at present due to the dry spell, but noted that in a few selected areas, tillage farmers were taking out winter wheat as wholecrop.

This was time sensitive, however, as Moroney explained: “It’s very much in selected areas – not all over. But it’s getting on; there’s only a few days left in that because it’s headed out too much and getting stronger.”

On silage, Moroney said that there were very few second cuts being done at present, adding:

Lads were saying to me we could be cutting second cuts in September. That’s the way things are looking.

Continuing, he said: “Other than that now, I’m not hearing fellows being called in significantly to do second cuts in paddocks – because there is no excess grass in paddocks any more.

“Last year they would have been cut, because there was excess grass, but not this year.”

Reseeding

The FCI chief executive also noted that there are a lot of farmers who have ground ready for reseeding and haven’t reseeded because there’s no point in putting grass seed out.

“But there is a good bit of land ready to be reseeded if there was hint of rain coming,” Moroney said.

“I spoke to a few of our own lads; they’ve reseeding land ploughed, tilled and ready to roll – but they need the sight of rain.

“It’s kind of an unprecedented situation really, but it’s particularly bad for the dairy men that are under stocking pressure; they are the people in real trouble.

It’s very stressful for those guys; they’re under real pressure because they’re either feeding their bales that they made a few weeks ago or else they’re feeding their second cut.

Commenting on talk of farmers and contractors spreading water on fields, Moroney said: “This whole issue of spreading water; one of the issues is where do you get it.

“And then, when you put it on, it nearly evaporates. The volumes you’d need to put on are colossal, so is it practical?”