Advice on seasonal niggles

Thistle and weed control need regular attention.
Thistle and weed control need regular attention.

BY ANTHONY O’CONNOR

OVER the past few weeks at Teagasc we’ve received a number of queries on a number of issues that farmers are facing this time of the year ranging from briars to lime spreaders.

These following advice snippets are as a result of those questions received by myself and other Teagasc advisers in the region over the past month or so.

Briars: A lot of calls. Best suggested practice for controlling briars around farmyards and touching electric fences is to use a strimmer with a blade to cut away heaviest briars – then ‘spit spray’ young briars and regrowth with Grazon 90. This herbicide will also control docks, rushes, thistles under electric fences.

Wheel poaching by lime spreaders: To prevent this happening in wetter areas or low lying fields, request the contractor to only half-fill the spreader with lime. It is the narrow wheels of the lime spreader that will cause the problem, so halving the load will be a big help in avoiding wheel damage to the land.

Colourful thistles: Spear thistles with their colourful flower may be brightening up you fields. However, they may be a real thorn in your stock’s side next year if not dealt with before flowering. Aim to control them by topping or the use of a suitable herbicide.

The West’s Awake: We’ve received a huge number of queries about this forthcoming National Greenacres Calf to Beef Farm Walk on the farm of Christy Dowd, Tulsk, Co Roscommon on Thursday, July 6 (later today if you’ve bought your Connacht Tribune this morning!).

This is a perfect oppurtunity for farmers all across the West to view systems of dairy bred calves being finished as beef. Christy Dowd himself, along with Teagasc specialists, will be there to answer questions from allcomers.

There will be two farm walks, at 2pm and 6.30pm. The later farm walk will suit part-time farmers from across the region. This is an Approved KT (Knowledge Transfer) event.

■ Anthony O’Connor is a Teagasc Adviser with the Galway/Clare Regional Unit.