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Old meadow silage question

  • 09-03-2022 1:03pm
    Registered Users Posts: 647 ✭✭✭ Packrat

    I've old meadows that haven't been ever reseeded and no intention of.

    Reasonable soil on gravel in South Kerry.

    They are grazed with sheep up to mid May and closed then for silage, which is cut late July.

    They normally get 2 bags of Cut Sward and slurry which gets 8 good big hard bales to the acre. Suckler cows did well enough on the silage alone.

    Probably lacking a bit of lime although I've been putting out a bit of gran line the last 3 years.

    I'm now converting to Organic.

    The question is: what will my bale count drop to with no fert? 3 or 4? Worse?

    Can't cut it much later as I need the aftergrass to hold a few lambs.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,319 Mod ✭✭✭✭ blue5000

    Is there clover in it?

    Close it a fortnight earlier and you'll probably get 6. Have you to reduce cattle numbers to satisfy housing space? We have trad hay meadow in Glas here and the dry spring in 2019/20(?) there was SFA on it. There is only 48 unts of N in 2 bags of cut sward so I doubt you'll be back to 3 bales anyway. If you are short you are allowed buy in organic hay.

    If the seat's wet, sit on yer hat, a cool head is better than a wet ar5e.

  • Registered Users Posts: 647 ✭✭✭ Packrat

    A little clover, plantains, buttercups, looks lovely when grown.

    Cows gone only a few Dexters and they're out. Sheep will eat half whatever I get off it.

    I can buy in organic hay but I'd say a lot of lads that make it have no animal at all and they'd be as well eating rushes. .

  • Registered Users Posts: 259 ✭✭ orchard farm

    id say average 4 per acre

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,426 ✭✭✭ Jjameson

    Sheep will have it fairly dense, and two months growing in good conditions with the fair fertility in the field will see 6 bales to the acre of moderate silage or ideally 10 bales of good sweet hay.

  • Registered Users Posts: 849 ✭✭✭ Easten

    Really depends on soil fertility and growth at that time of year. On a good year you could be looking at 6 bales/acre. But if the weather doesn't play ball and its too dry or cold then you could be looking at a crop that is too light to cut as in 0 bales

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  • Registered Users Posts: 647 ✭✭✭ Packrat

    I might actually keep a couple of acres of hay out of it, a few small squares are very handy around the shed or the day the tractor is punctured, and that short grassy hay is perfect for lambs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 647 ✭✭✭ Packrat

    Thanks everybody, iif I got anywhere above 4 I'd be very happy, and if it failed completely, - well I'd have a nice organic payment to buy something else.

    It's not a massive area of ground anyway - about 15 acres.

    After year 1 I'll know what to expect and can close as much more again the next year if needs be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,900 ✭✭✭ endainoz

    It definitely won't fail completely, it's getting good fertility from the sheep and you seem to have a good mix of different species in there. If anything it would be more drought resistant than a conventional ryegrass sward. The ground might go into a bit of a "shocked" phase as it's been used to getting fert but thar will balance out after a while. No hard to get a bit of soil sampling done to see what trace elements you have but I'd say the sheep have a good bit of the work done for your already fertility wise.