There’s plenty of work to be done on Tykillen Farm in Co Wexford at the minute. Ciara Kinsella was getting ready to send the first batch of lambs to the factory last week. They weigh 38kg and over and were born around the last week of February and the first week of March. The first batch of lambs are mainly singles.
Finished off grass, they have not received any meal, but some might be fed towards the end of the season to the last few, if needed.
Ciara said grass growth is flying at the minute and while the majority of the grazing ground received 30kg N/ha in March, no more has been spread since then.
Clover content is relatively high across the farm and there is one paddock of multispecies in the rotation which received 16kg N/ha in March and is keeping up with the rest of the paddocks.
Haylage will be made in the next week or so, when the weather allows and Ciara is happy with the crop so far. Sixty bales of haylage are left over from last year so the aim is to keep it to one cut this year. The haylage ground received 24-2.5-10, bring N application to 74kg N/ha.
Eight acres of grazing ground which is low in phosphorus and potassium received only pig slurry, from a local piggery, to try and build up the soil indices.
The family had considered converting to organics over the past few months, but decided against it for now as the premium on the lamb is not there and stocking rate would need to reduce substantially to ensure enough grass growth.
Fertiliser use is very low on the farm, but taking it out as an option altogether would be difficult.
The June bank holiday usually signals the arrival of the shearers. The ewes were shorn. The price for the wool will not cover the cost of shearing.
The farm is in GLAS so wild bird cover was planted towards the end of May. This cover is no doubt of benefit to wildlife, but also the bees on the farm.
There are now 14 fully established hives on the farm and honey has been harvested and jarred in the past few weeks.
Ciara explained that they expect to harvest double the amount of honey that they had last year, which should help to keep up with demand.
The honey and beeswax products are sold on the farm’s website and, last Christmas, stock actually sold out.
This business venture is really adding to the farm’s sustainability as it brings in an extra income and having sales set up online takes out the work of attending markets and local shows.
There are also sport horses on the farm. Ciara is currently training a four-year-old which she will compete in the Young Event Horse Series this year and is looking forward to producing several promising three-year-olds which she has bred.