White clover: the EU’s golden ticket?

With the level of chemical fertilizer used in the EU at the forefront of politicians’ minds this week, white clover may become a major factor on Irish farms in the very near future. In this week’s second blog entry, Adrian Graham from Dundalk IT tells Agridirect.ie about the benefits of growing white clover.

Reducing chemical nitrogen

Recent news confirmed that as part of the new proposed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the limit for chemical nitrogen spread in the EU will be reduced by 10% and the closed period for slurry spreading will be lengthened by bringing the existing closing date (15th of October) back to some point in September. This will put pressure on farmers to keep grass growing, but clover could be the answer. Clover has the ability to ‘fix’ nitrogen from the air using rhizobia bacteria that the plant contains within its roots. This nitrogen is then held in the soil and is made available for the grass plants to utilize. This process leads to a much quicker regrowth of grass.

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Spending a lot of time on the tractor? Mind your back!

Agridirect.ie discusses how spending a lot of time driving a tractor can be harmful to the lower back, and offers farmers some advice on how to reduce risk this silage season.

A physically demanding profession

The number of farmers who complain of back pain during this time of year is always very high. If you, personally, haven’t experienced persistent aching in the lower back, you almost certainly know a farmer who has. Now, there are many possible causes of back pain. Farming is a physically demanding profession, after all, and entails many activities that are potentially harmful to the back muscles. Tasks such as pitching and lifting heavy weights are notoriously hard on this part of the body.

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Yes, we need more clover. Here’s why!

Agridirect.ie outlines the primary benefits of promoting white clover on our land.

A member of the bean family, white clover (trifolium repens) is native to Europe and Central Asia. Traditionally, it has thrived in the temperate oceanic climate of Britain and Ireland, providing excellent grazing for the ruminants of these islands. After World War II, however, market forces began to target the three-leaved plant. As petrochemical herbicides developed during the war era hit the shelves, the chemical industry started to depict white clover as an unsightly weed that its products could deal with. Predictably, the global clover population took a serious nosedive.

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Stuck behind farm machinery on the road? Take it easy!

Traffic behind tractor 001Agridirect.ie advises road users to relax when stuck behind slow-moving farm machinery this summer. 

It’s silage season – know what to expect on Irish roads?

If you live in a rural area or took a drive into the countryside over the last few weeks, chances are you’ve spent some time driving behind heavy machinery. Tractors are a frequent sight on Irish roads at all times of the year, but the summer months see a sharp increase in the volume of moving machinery in public spaces. With the silage season well underway, you will encounter large tractors carrying mowers and bale lifters, or towing balers and wrappers, every few kilometres on most journeys.    Continue reading “Stuck behind farm machinery on the road? Take it easy!”

Paddock Grazing Sheep: is it worth the effort?

Grass growth has taken off, but will farmers put their grass to good use? Guest author Adrian Graham, a student of Sustainable Agriculture at Dundalk IT, tells Agridirect.ie why paddock grazing can be very beneficial on a sheep enterprise, and explains how to go about it!

Rotational paddock grazing: what are the benefits?

Good grass management is one of the main driving factors in levels of profitably on Irish farms but the question is: is it practical and worthwhile on a lowland sheep enterprise?

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5 signs you’ve been shearing sheep

Agridirect puts together a list of 5 signs you’ve been shearing sheep this month.

Farmers on the shears: the telltale signs

Well folks, the shearing season is now well and truly underway. And not before time, because this is maggoty weather. The humidity of the last couple of weeks makes for perfect breeding conditions for the blowfly. Here at Agridirect.ie, we’ve been talking to farmers in the throes of shearing their flocks. To mark the season, we’ve put together a list of 5 the telltale signs that you’ve been shearing sheep. Here they are:

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Hanging Farm Gates to Last – An Expert’s Advice

This week, retired fencing contractor Micheál Geoghegan talked to Agridirect.ie about hanging farm field gates that will last. Micheál has hung hundreds of farm gates over the years. His advice is laid out here in a simple 9-step guide.

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Clostridial vaccination: have your lambs had their jabs yet?

Lamb Vaccination 001As summer gets underway, Agridirect offers farmers some advice on the prevention of clostridial diseases in sheep, and provides some information about the best vaccines available on the market. 

Here comes the sun!

Well folks, it seems fair to say that summer has arrived, and not before we had need of it. Last weekend saw highs of 21 or 22 degrees in some parts of the country. In northern and western counties, where growth has been abysmal until now, grass is finally on the move. As we move into June, we can almost smell the first cut of grass! Continue reading “Clostridial vaccination: have your lambs had their jabs yet?”

Do You Know the Right Weed Killer for Your Farm?

Weed Wars 001

Agridirect offers some advice to farmers and gardeners on the best weedkillers to use in this summer’s weed wars!

At war with weeds?

It’s that time of year again. And while most of us welcome the milder weather, we can’t help but despair that the weeds are getting the upper hand in our endless war against them. My own front street is starting to look like meadow and, try as I might to hack away at the variety of grasses with a spade, there just aren’t enough hours in the week to keep them at bay. It may be time for the farmer and the gardener to strike back. Why not take the less labour-intensive option and look for an effective weedkiller over the coming weeks? If you’re ready to take action, we have some great news for you! Here at Agridirect.ie, we’re running a super early summer sale on some of our most popular weed killers and related products. Continue reading “Do You Know the Right Weed Killer for Your Farm?”

Gastrointestinal worms: how to manage them this summer

Worm treatments for cattleAgridirect offers some advice to farmers on treating gastrointestinal worms this summer.

Peak season on the horizon

As we head towards summer and temperatures begin to rise, farmers will be concerned about the risk of gastrointestinal worms. July is usually considered to be peak season for worms, but with June on the horizon it is not too early to keep an eye out for the first symptoms in your herd. While we generally hold the stomach worm to be an irritant for adult cattle, a bad case can be very dangerous for calves. Weanlings are particularly susceptible to the parasite, which lowers their overall health, and reduces their ability to resist other diseases. Continue reading “Gastrointestinal worms: how to manage them this summer”