By Nick Morrison
Most Orcadian Farmers bring their coos inside for the winter that means from about late October to mid November they have to be fed inside until about 4 weeks from now, the new seasons grass is only just showing at time of writing.
Neil Croy has reintroduced an old “bad season” proof method of providing winter fodder.
If we have a “bad season” here farmers will struggle to get the hay in as well as getting enough usable straw for bedding.
Neil sows one of Wm Shearers “Single season” grass mixes mixed with South Ronaldsay oats in the spring and leaves it there till needed.
He then scythes it a little at a time, binds it into small stooks, loads those onto his tractor’s buck-rake for transport to the byres.
The stooks are fed directly to the coos who munch it eagerly as it contains fresh grasses as well as the oats. In addition he feeds them hay (if he can get it) or haylage plus a proprietary supplement for the calves. He doesn’t have to wait for a series of dry days for the hay.
When these wee videos were shot it was 1 Deg C with snow on the ground. As it is not stored for any length of time there are no worries about spoilage in storage which can occur with haylage more so in a “bad season”.
2kg Meribel, 2 Kg Gemini, 1 Kg Aberecho, 1Kg Pirol. This mix is applied at 6kg/Acre
South Ronaldsay oats applied at 1 CWT/ acre.