South East Fermanagh Ulster Farmers’ Union held its group meeting in the Donn Carragh on 12th November at 8pm. The topic was maximising the use of farm grown forage.
Jonathan Dunn, technical advisor for Joseph Morton Ltd, began his presentation, by introducing himself and the two other speakers from Biotal, with whom Mortons work closely in the supply of additives and yeasts.
Jonathan split the presentation into three areas, focusing himself firstly on the growing of forage ie grass and whole crops, while Mike Burns, regional business manager for Biotal, presented on silage additives and yeasts, and finally Roy Eastlake, national technical support manager Biotal, gave a thought provoking overview of worldwide agriculture and how in the UK we need to focus on our own farms and maximise what we can control.
In terms of growing forage Jonathan introduced the idea of a grassland checklist, asking questions regarding soils, productivity and when to reseed.
He went on to highlight the importance of selecting varieties from the recommended list and in particular the benefits of Aber High Sugar varieties in terms of yield, density and digestibility. Aber Gain has 1.9TDM per hectare more production than the lowest recommended grass each year.
The second type of forage is wholecrop and this includes wheat barley rye etc. Jonathan highlighted the benefits in terms of rotation, cost and animal production and finished by saying forage should be part of a plan not last minute.
Mike took over and spoke on treating forages with crop specific inoculants and the return on investment from doing so and how the aim should be to produce a stable silage preserved for the cow, while minimising waste. He introduced feeding of live yeast such as sc Gold and how this improves rumen health and feed efficiency.
As the final speaker Roy give an in depth presentation on the variation in costs of production and how this varied from farm to farm, and indeed country to country. He emphasised how maximising the use of forage was critical no matter what type of production system you ran and how it reduced costs and increased output. As a cow signal trainer, Roy highlighted how important rumen health is to cows and how everything flows from it, and how Mortons and Biotal work together with the farmer to achieve this on farm.
The meeting concluded with a discussion and a quiz which was won by Mr Irwin Little. The President’s Area Meeting will be held on Monday 11th January at 8pm in the Killyhevlin hotel.
Thanks go to all who took part and donated in the 5K Spooktacular fun run in Enniskillen on Friday, October 30, where money was raised for Theo McClelland.