Management Hints Messages:        JULY 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com and cut more 2nd cut silage. Thoughtfully manage grass after the drought. Short of winter feed: review, plan NOW and act. Manage grazed grass to ensure quality and no wastage of toppings Grow more grass with Nitrogen, Sulphur and best practice grassland management, Be pro-active in preventing mastitis. Proactively build-up autumn grass from late July. Continue to monitor replacement animals by weighing regularly.  Aim for a cow stocking rate on the grazing area of 3.7 to  The yield should be 6-7 ton/acre with any reasonable  It would be essential to apply 3 bags 27:2.5:5 and allow 6  4.2 cows per hectare in July. growth. By Matt Ryan MANAGING GRASS AFTER A DROUGHT:     Many farmers are suffering serious grass shortage. If still in trouble, stay on a 21-23 day rotation, feeding the balance with meals 5 -7kgs and silage (preferably, quality bales). Nitrogen (CAN) at 20units/acre post grazing should be maintained so as to have N in the soil when rain comes. When the rain comes slow down the rotation length drastically (up to 30 days) for the first 10-13 days so as to let the pre-grazing cover (PGC) build up to near ideal. Measure grass twice per week to stay in control of a changing grass situation.    SHORT OF WINTER FEED: PLAN NOW & ACT!   A long winter, a poor grass growth spring and more stock on most farms has created this challenge – many farmers will be short. What are your cheapest options just now? See Table 1.   Table : Relative prices of feeds based on energy basis. (Cost per ton when barley and soya are € and € per ton) Grazed Late Grass Pit silage : 72%DMD : 67%DMD Hay Whole crop cereal silage (25% starch) Maize silage (25%starch) Straw Brewers Grains Kale Rape (4 ton/acre) Fodder Beet Citrus Maize Gluten Palm Kernal Soya Hulls Molassed Beet Pulp = €38 = €34 = €28 = €147 = €73 = €55 = €95 = €54 =€35 = €46 =€43 = €206 =€242 =€269 = €219 = €215  weeks growing time. If you have to buy silage “on the shank”, be careful not to pay too much as the table shows.  Also the yield on 2nd cut will be 6-7 tons.  Remember you will have the cutting costs and pit and feed losses after,  A standing crop of very good yielding 2nd cut might be worth €130/acre.  If buying silage in bales, the dry matter and quality will have a huge influence on price.  Get it analysed, so as not to “buy a pig in a poke”. Barley off the combine may be worth looking at, but only if you have the way to handle it without any extra cost or hardship. Straw will be necessary, if you are very short of silage, as a roughage; but it is expected to be in short supply and very expensive this year – book your supply early. There is a prediction that “green barley” will sell at €165 off the combine for 20% moisture. Price changes €2 per 1% up or down on this. It could be stored with propcorn for feeding later in winter – if rolling could be overcome it might be worth considering. Act now if short! First establish the amount of Dry Matter (DM) you will be in deficit:  2nd Cut yield approx 15 tons/ha. And silage DM will be 18 – 20%. If the farmer has 800 tons fresh silage, convert to dry matter as follows; Calculate as follows: Tons X 1000 X 0.20 = Kgs DM. Therefore he has 160,000 kgs DM  Calculate how many kg DM is required to feed all stock for your winter; as follows:  Animals will need the following DM/hd/day: Cows = 11; Incalf heifers = 9; and weanlings = 5. If you thinks you have a 4 month winter, allow an extra half month as safety net; which is 135 day winter.  100cows X 11 X 135 = 148,500kgs DM  20 Incalf Hfs X 9 X 135 = 24,300  20 weanlings X 5 X 135 = 13,500………… Total Required + 186,300 Therefore, he is short 26,300 kgs DM. You can convert this to tons silage as follows: 26,300 divided by 1000 divided by 0.20 = 132 tons. You can now act on the most suitable economic choice available above. This is the year; more than any one, where we should neither lose milk (price down 3-5c/l), because of grass management or waste grass because it is stemmy due to its value next winter. If it is stemmy or in short supply, for whatever reason, cows will not milk to potential.  It is very difficult to keep quality grass ahead of cows due to very high growth rates and ‘drought stress’ in July.  That’s acceptable.  Many farmers drop by twice this figure due to poor GET THE MOST OUT OF GRASS!  Therefore, extending the grazing season is one of the cheapest options; the winter can be shortened by maybe one month on dry farms. Will be discussed later and this must be a serious option for many.  Kale is still an option but the yield will only be 4-5 tons/acre. Therefore, one acre will feed two weanlings for 90 days.  There is every opportunity to make more 2nd cut silage during July and August by “going for it”.  Feed meal/citrus to cows so as to free up more acres now   Milk yield drops by 2½% per week during the summer. 42  quality grass. If you are a good manager and you want to take remedial action fast; ask yourself why the drop occurred.  Were the cows grazing stemmy, poor quality grass (must