2020 will be our sixth-year trading in Ireland, in trading years it's not an insignificant period, but in breeding terms, we are just getting warmed up.
How we manage our land and farm is continuously evolving, and every year brings new challenges. We used to talk about the ‘normal year’ but have since come to accept that our planning for ‘on farm forages’ needs to extend beyond the remit or possibility of a normal year. In the last 24 months, we had severe drought conditions which stress tested our farm forage planning, to constant rainfall, which prevented autumn plantings.
Diversity had been on the agenda for a long time in the sense of the sustainability, but diversity of cropping and the use of home-grown forages will leave the farm less exposed to weather extremes that may impact a farm with one forage plan only. While the main of our investment in Irish agriculture is within grassland, the lack of chemical control of grassland pests like leather jackets will begin to force rotation on farm and break crops, to allow for grass entry.
Within the 2020 brochure, we not only have the best grass varieties available today but also a host of alternative forage options that can extend grazing periods, bulk up silage pits, or out winter animals and all at a reduced cost compared to compound feed.
We believe that innovation is critical to driving the country’s sustainable grass-fed system for generations to come, and we will continue to invest in Irish research to bring the latest genetics, yield and agronomical gains to the Irish farmer.