It might not have been as self evident in recent weeks as we would like but Ireland’s main natural resource is its ability to grow grass and lots of it owing to our mild damp climate and our proximity to the Gulf stream.
We do not have huge deposits of gold or fossil fuels that we can build our nations wealth on the back off. With An Taisce’s appeal last week to the High Court ruling in favour of the construction of Glanbia’s new cheese plant and with all the pseudoscience put forth by this group and with all the talk of re-wilding, rewetting large areas of farmland, there must be a money tree somewhere in the Irish State of to offset the economic carnage this regression will reap on the country. The fact is we don’t have a money tree but we do have a cash cow.
If we reduce our production of milk or beef here, the vacuum will be filled elsewhere. That elsewhere won’t produce it in a sustainable highly regulated manner, elsewhere won’t have the same high animal welfare standards we in Ireland have, elsewhere will increase production by clear felling large areas of rainforest to increase capacity. This is known as carbon leakage. Since the start of the pandemic, the Government have had to for good reason expand its spending to keep business afloat and provide a financial lifeline to employees.
This Government spending will continue for some time to come. Last year was an exceptional year but the State bore a budget deficit of €19 billion, there will be a big deficit for the foreseeable future while the machinery of the nations economy gets moving. Ally all this to the attack on the productive sector, that is any industry that creates something whether it be a service or a product. In this case it is agriculture that is under an unrelenting attack based on falsehoods and non scientific reasoning. Our economy needs a thriving livestock sector, there won’t be much GDP generated from re-wetting, re-wilding and turning much of the country into a national park.
At home grass growth is starting to pickup on the back of the thundery downpours. We are following the cows with one bag of 18:5:12 with sulphur to the acre. Sulphur is a very important nutrient as it aids to uptake of nitrogen, also on a highly stocked dairy farm where grass can become bitter from cow pats it sweetens the sward. Since the arrival of the rain and softer weather, bulling activity seems to have picked up.
I found the start of breeding season slower than usual but it has now sped up from a dribble of cows showing heats to a steady flow. The roof is going on our hen’s new house this week as our next batch of new hens are arriving soon. It is exciting times and currently we are doing out a grazing plan for the hens to rotate over to ensure fresh grass in their diet regularly to get that rich superior egg.