Coming to the end of week three of Dairygold’s hay imports campaign, the co-op has confirmed it will have imported and distributed 210 loads, which is in excess of 3,500 tonnes, by this weekend, with more hay imports planned over the next ten days to supplement feed demand until reasonable grass growth gets underway. The co-op this week has also welcomed the timely support from the Irish Dairy Board in supporting the country’s fodder import initiative. Expecting a pick-up in the weather in the coming days, Dairygold has also urged farmers to get fertiliser out on grassland as quickly as possible, and to close off ground for silage to maximise grass growth in the next few weeks. Extended credit has already been provided for feed and fertiliser purchas-es. Commenting on late grass growth, Scott Lovell Dairygold’s Agri Business Technical Manager said that, “while I am hoping that the worst of the fodder crisis is behind us, Spring 2013 continues to present significant challenges and the consequences may be felt for many more months and perhaps into 2014”. 

He added; “A burst of grass growth [up to 100Kg/ha/day is not unheard of at this time of year] will present its own challenges as the temptation to graze every blade will be strong”, he said, asking farmers to “Remember to budget the grass in front of you, [aim for covers of 1200-1400Kg/ha], try not to make major changes to dairy cow diets too quickly to avoid digestive upsets, and ensure cows are receiving adequate Cal Mag to prevent grass tetany”

“Bad weather in the last few months has been hard on animals, so farmers also need to pay extra attention to heat detection, dairy cow health and nutritional status during the breeding season”, he said.

Meanwhile in a separate development, the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD announced on Wednesday that he has extended the duration of the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme for one week. The scheme will now run until Friday 10th May. The Minister also confirmed that maize silage is eligible under the scheme.