As the first of April approaches and our thoughts no doubt turn to fertiliser, stock turnout and beef prices.
With the pick-up in the weather with good drying, consistence temperatures and the most pleasing of all, sunshine, your thoughts may turn to the fertiliser shaker.
For anyone looking to take an early cut of silage, fields need to be closed by April 1st and fertiliser spread out. Ideally if it was possible before now to have grazed out these fields but on heavy farms it would have been next to impossible. Here on my own farm the meadow fields are always grazed last before housing for this reason and means that the grazing block will have a reasonable cover going into the winter and importantly is available to me if required in early spring.
Slurry should already have been spread early on any meadow fields, at at least 2 or 3 weeks in advance.
If wondering what exactly to spread, then consider cut sward or 18-6-12 or even Richland which has the added extra trace minerals, which can release the stored up N,P and K in the ground. I have seen where hungry grounds got Richland fertiliser and grass just kept growing so it shows that topping up the trace minerals can do for your grass.
For farmers who do their own fertiliser then, a day or two before spreading hook on the spreader and make sure it’s all working ok, taking special care and time to ensure the PTO guard is in place and working correctly.
One thing often over looked is the weight of the fertiliser bags and at 50kg, it is essential that two people lift them, a lot of work if there is a good few tonnes to spread in the one day. If possible try and use mechanical means of lifting as these are always safer.
If it’s not possible to have a second machine to lift big bags and if your suppliers yard is in a reasonable driving distance from the farm, then avail of the lifting appliances there.
For farmers looking to let out cattle, safety again is paramount as these big animals will just be full of energy. For cattle that are for finishing off on grass this year, then cutting back on meal from two weeks up to a month, can reduce meal costs firstly, something I always like, and will encourage the animal to start grazing straight off and not feel the need to run a 5k first.
Having a good setup for animals is always key and letting cattle out into a small yard that’s well fenced for a few hours in the fresh first before attempting to get them out and always in small batches, i.e, one or two pens at a time. Safety first at all times because an excited animal is a very dangerous proposition.
Great trade reported in all marts this week, with high quality light lots attracting the biggest price per kg and great trade for grass cattle for finishing off grass, with farmers being very active for good quality cattle.
Some reported prices off up to 1000 euro with the weight are being achieved for near factory fit cattle.
As numbers of cattle being processed falls, factories are under pressure to increase prices in order to secure cattle,
Young Bulls 365-400c/kg