Jerome Desmond, his wife, Majella, and their son, Brian, operate a dairy farm at Garryhesta, Ovens in Co. Cork.
This is a family farm where son, Tom, and daughter Aisling also assist during weekends and holiday time.
Brian, aged 21 years, was educated at Clonakilty Agricultural College, and also worked on a large dairy farm for six months in New Zealand.
Milk from their mixed herd of 130 Holstein Friesian-cross-Jersey- cows is supplied to Dairygold Co-op.
Average yield for this spring-calving herd is 6,500 litres (over 1.400 gals) and milk is produced mainly from top-quality grazed grass.
This farm is on dry land and they budget for a three-month winter but make plenty silage to cover for the possibility of an early winter, late spring, or summer droughts.
They make 70-acres of first-cut clamp silage and 40-50 acres of a second-cut. Around 450 bales of silage are also made by their local baled silage contractors, Aidan Deasy, and his son, Jim.
The owners of Aherla Farm & Plant Hire, who undertake silage work for approximately 50 farmers, operate two McHale Fusion 3 Plus bale-wrappers and give their customers a choice of using netwrap or Baletite.
According to Aidan, 90% of their customers have now switched from netwrap to Baletite.
Jim says that this is “because the silage preserves better, bales are easier to handle and less subject to damage when they are moved”.
Baletite costs €1 more per bale and is referred to as balewrap by farmers and their contractors.
The Desmonds have been using Baletite now for two years and are very satisfied with the silage quality.
“We have 100% perfect preservation whereas with the netwrap there was some wastage around the outside of the bale. Another plus is that it can be disposed of along with the wrap.” explained Jerome.
According to Seamus O’Callaghan from Durapak Agri in Ballincollig, the local supplier for Baletite, “it is an innovative pre-orientated film that replaces netwrap in round silage bales”.
It is specifically designed to enhance the ensiling process and protect the bale contents.”
Reduce wastage of valuable silage wrap
Lloyd Dawson, commercial director silage with Berry bpi agriculture , the manufacturers of Baletite, says that “being a film, Baletite provides an additional air barrier whilst helping to retain a better bale shape by exerting a tighter grip around the bale circumference”.
“Plus, it reduces wastage of valuable silage wrap, as, unlike netwrap, no baled fodder can become enmeshed in it.”
Its production from the same base material as balewrap means users do not have to separate the Baletite from balewrap after use.
Instead, both Baletite and the accompanying balewrap can be recycled together thereby saving valuable time and labour costs.
Baletite bales benefit from an enhanced ensiling process resulting in better crop conservation thanks to the increased oxygen barrier afforded by the extra film layers around the bale circumference.
As a pre-orientated film manufactured using blown film co-extrusion lines, Baletite offers exceptional puncture resistance even with tough, stemmy forage crops.
Its ability to cover the bale from edge-to-edge offers additional protection around the edge of the bale - especially useful when baling stalky crops.
Baletite exerts a tight grip around the bale circumference to compress content and expel oxygen faster.
Due to the high tightening force, Baletite creates tighter, more compact bales that benefit from a more rounded shape.
For more information about Baletite, see here.
Photos: Fergal O’Gorman