Co Armagh dairy farmer maximising milk from forage

Silage inoculant being made this week at Provita's Omagh factory
Silage inoculant being made this week at Provita's Omagh factory

Portadown milk producer Pat Lavery milks 80 cows. Currently, averaging 8,400 litres with good butterfats and proteins, the herd calves the year round.

“Making good quality silage to maximise litres from forage is a key priority for the business,” he said.

“It is the one way in which we can hope to maximise milk from forage levels. We normally take three cuts: mid-May, the first week of July and then the last week of August.

“All of this grass is destined for the clamp. Bales are made from paddocks that have been taken out of the grazing rotation. Getting as much milk from grazed grass is another priority for the farm. The cows have been out day and night since April 15th.”

Despite the cold spring, Pat intends taking a first cut of 70-acres on or around May 15th.

“The date may change by a day or two, depending on the weather,” he explained.

“However, we always aim to cut grass at the correct growth stage. I am also very mindful that, if the weather turns warm at all over the coming days, grass can bolt and then head very quickly.”

All of the silage ground on the Lavery farm received slurry, followed by urea, in mid-March.

“We use a contractor for all of this work, including the silage making operation,” he confirmed.

Irrespective of the weather, a key priority for Pat is to ensure that all grass is treated with Provita’s inoculant prior to ensiling.

“We have been using the product for the past number of years with tremendous results,” he said.

“It sweetens silage tremendously. Or, put another way, it makes good silage even better.”