Over 100 farmers braved the elements for Dairylink walk in wet west Tyrone

7th April 2016

Over 100 farmers braved the elements for Dairylink walk in wet west Tyrone

The Dairylink farm walk was well attended despite the poor weather.

Over 100 dairy farmers braved the wet conditions in west Tyrone for the Dairylink farm walk on the McGrade family farm near Dromore, Co Tyrone.

Sleet, hail and heavy rain fell while farmers listened to Conail Keown and host farmer Kevin McGrade.

The McGrade autumn-calving herd has been out grazing for the last three weeks, but given the wet underfoot conditions, the cows were inside eating silage today. Yesterday, the cows grazed from 2pm to 5pm before staying in for the night on round-baled silage and 4kg of meal per cow per day.

Impact of wet weather

Farmers expressed amazement at how wet the paddocks were and Kevin was quick to point out the benefits of good roadways and having plenty of gaps in fences. He said: "We have 30 hectares of our 60 hectares grazed so far this year and I plan to finish the first round of grazing by 18 April. At that stage, I plan to have the cows out grazing full-time and then will start thinking about closing up a portion of the farm for winter silage."

The McGrades make all baled silage and last year they made 625 bales, compared to 1,250 bales the year before.

Last July and August were a complete washout in west Tyrone and over 250mm (10 inches) of rain fell in the two summer months. This was the main reason for the reduced silage yield.

This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the Irish Farmers Journal. Please click on the below Irish Farmers Journal logo to be brought to additional dairy articles

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