By Enda O’Hart
Drystock Advisor, Teagasc Castlerea
With interest in organic farming increasing recently, Teagasc has decided to hold an organic farm walk on the farm of James Beirne, Rusheen, Boyle, Co. Roscommon, on Wednesday, April 5th, at 2 pm.
The purpose of the walk will be to provide technical information for existing organic farmers and for farmers that may be thinking of going organic in the future. People attending the walk should gather in Croghan village (F52 X376) at 1.45 pm, where a bus will be provided to bring you to the farm and back.
There will be four stops on the day. The first stop will deal with housing on organic farms. Many farmers that joined organics last year still have some work to do on their housing before the deadline of next winter, so this stop should prove useful. There are requirements around space allowances per animal and the requirement that 50% of the animal area comprises of a solid floor bedded area.
The second stop will deal with how to grow a crop of silage and how to maximise the quality of this silage crop. The role of red clover silage in providing high yields of top quality silage will also be discussed. There will be discussions around doing a fodder budget as it is hugely important that organic farmers are aware of what their silage requirements will be and what silage yields they can expect.
The third stop will deal with soil fertility on organic farms. The role of soil fertility is really important if a farmer wants to operate a productive system. This stop will discuss the requirement for regular soil testing to monitor changes over time, the importance of correcting soil pH, testing organic manures for nutrient content and targeting the correct time and locations for spreading slurry/FYM.
The fourth and final stop will deal with weed control on organic farms. Organic farmers do know that they will have to accept a small level of weeds on their farms but there are actions that can be carried out to lessen the weed burden. The main focus here will be on rush control. There will also be a board on animal health as it is important that organic farmers minimise the use of veterinary treatments.
We look forward to seeing you all at the farm walk. For more information, contact the Teagasc Castlerea office on 094 9620160.