Dairy Update - Drought continues, with ration increased


Trip away to unwind, Looking after mental health, burnt grass, grass growth difficulties, increasing rations, feeding hay and more.

Dairy Update - Drought continues, with ration increased

  • ADDED
  • 2 mths ago

Trip away to unwind, Looking after mental health, burnt grass, grass growth difficulties, increasing rations, feeding hay and more.

Name: Louise Crowley
Age: 23 years old
Operation: Farm partnership with father in Tullovin, Croom, County Limerick.
Farm: 150 cows, 42 heifers and 40 yearling heifers.
Production: Butterfat: 3.73, Protein: 3.15, SCC: 305, Lactose: 4.68, Cows are doing approx. 16 litres/day at the moment. Cows fed 6kgs of nuts in parlour.




This Week -
The rain still hasn’t come and is still badly needed here on both farms. The home farm has no grass left and the paddocks are gone brown and are burnt. The outfarm is still green, if it got any rain it would start growing again.

The cows are on 6 bales of silage a day. This is being mixed in the tub feeder and given to them out in the paddocks. Heifers are on bales of hay in round feeders out in their paddocks, while calves will be put on bales of hay also today. All bulls are still out with both cows and heifers. Milk production is continuing to drop and this is inevitable since there is no longer fresh grass in the cow’s diets. Milk production was bound to drop once silage was being fed out.

•We have increased the quantity of nuts being fed out to the cows this week, and the heifers are getting palm kernel straight in troughs. The cows are also getting it in their silage mix. No calves were sold off the farm this week and we are holding on to the last 15 calves as we have quite a bit of antibiotic milk left after milking. We are feeding it to them rather than selling them and having to dump it.

The 24 cows that we were holding quarters on, are still being held. These cows were all sampled again Monday morning and I’m awaiting the test results. Hopefully, the course of treatment will have improved some of them.

This week the main jobs have been keeping all the animals fed. I’ve been going out with 2-3 feeds a day at the moment. Dad has been on the outfarm all week, tidying and clearing out sheds, as well as planning out a new fence around the farm.

Next Week -
This week, we are hoping very much for some rainfall.

We are also awaiting the somatic cell count test results and should have them this week. As mentioned, a new fence will be put up on the out farm. In general, we will keep the cows and heifers happy and fed.


Name: Patrick Mc Carthy
Age: 35
Farm: Milking 40 crossbred Jersey herd
Performance: Butterfat 4.31 , Protein 3.47 , Kgs/Ms/Cow = 1.46 , Cows doing 18.2 Litres. SCC = 146 , Meal = 5kgs 16% Dairy



Week gone by -
I got advice on how to deal with the current drought recently. This week I just tried to keep grass in the cow's diet, while trying to ration it out and extend the rotation at the same time.

It is getting very serious now as the weather forecast is saying we won't see rain for another 10 days. Paddocks that have been grazed won't be grazed for another 2 weeks or so after that, even with fertiliser out and a surge in growth. I haven't fed silage yet but cows have access to hay In the head feeder as a buffer fed.

Paddocks that were marked for second cut will be grazed and God knows if I will be able to save up for a second cut. It is hard to know what the weather will do after the rain comes. I will just have to wait and see. It has been a very frustrating year so far and it has been very stressful. I have a weekend away planned in early August and it will be great to go away for a weekend and away from the farm. I advise farmers to plan a few days away every now and then. You would be surprised at how better you feel after getting out and meeting up with friends etc.

We as farmers need to look after our own mental health, it is just as important as our physical health.

Upcoming week -
After a bit of advise I will increase meal to 10kgs. Dairy meal will be increased to 8kgs and I will feed 2kgs of a soya hulls/maize buffer mix.

Cows will get no more than 4kgs of meal in each feed. I will feed 4kgs in the morning and bring cows back in around lunchtime and give them 2kgs of the buffer mix and then they will go back out and get 4kgs of dairy nuts after milking in the evening.

Bringing cows in at lunchtime is not ideal but has to be done. I will see how they go on this feeding level. I will probably also let them have access to either hay or silage In the evenings.


Name: Aran Connell
Age: 25
Farm: Dairy farm, milking 140 Holstein Friesian’s in farm partnership with his father.
Location: Mizen Head, West Cork.
Performance: 25 litres,, 3.80bf, 3.18 pr, Scc 110, Cows fed 6kgs of ration




This week -
Still no rain and this has really slowed grass this past week, so much so that the diet feeder will be put on over the weekend.

Silage and moist distillers will be fed to spare what grass is growing. Most farmers locally are feeding silage at the moment. The dry cattle farm and heifer block is ticking over and we won't worry about a grass shortage there for another week or two.

Week ahead -
The silage will be cut tomorrow as it's starting to wither and melt into the ground. We are still following cows with a bag of CAN to try keep some colour in grass.

Talks of rain over the weekend, but not enough to get growth restarted but all we can do is hope at this stage. There are not too many jobs to do at the minute, as it's too dry to do reseeding or even fencing. So,I will just cary out general yardwork and jobs. Once the rain does come, it will be all systems go again.


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