While we have had a great summer so far in terms of weather, Teagasc had done a survey that shows that two thirds of farmers will be 23% short of fodder next year. With the recent dry spell and slower grass growth rates this may be difficult to claw back for most farmers so the advice is to plan ahead.
Last year it was the farmers that sat down and planned ahead that managed to get through the spring without fodder shortages. So it is never too early to plan ahead for winter.
The first step is to measure the fodder available on the farm. It is vital to get the average height of the pit right when calculating the total tons of pit silage (length by width by average height). Over or under estimating by a foot can throw the calculation out by 10 to 12 %.
If after your calculations that you find yourself to be one of the two thirds of farmers short of fodder then you have plenty of options if you act early. The earlier you act the better your situation will be.
The common solutions are to:
A. Sell a few animals (selling 10 cull cows will save you 80tons of fodder)
B. Buy in fodder ( straw will be available soon)
C. Feed more concentrates (1kg of concentrate replaces 5kgs of fodder).
You may find a combination of these options will suit you best.