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HERD UPDATE 08.06.20

General detail

  • Newford Farm is into its 7th week of breeding and the farm has produced a short video on YouTube which provides information on the breeding programme and heat detection aids utilised. A link to the video is provided below.  

Breeding update

  • The Breeding season started on Monday 27th of April and 100% AI is being used.
    • 93 cows were put forward for the 2020 breeding season.
    • 94 % of the herd were inseminated in the first three weeks of breeding.
    • Three cows were slow to come bulling and were inspected by the yet. Two received a cidr and as of Tuesday 09th June all 93 were inseminated.
    • The farm is happy with the level of repeats identified.
      • 25 cows served twice ( 9th June)
      • 4 cows served 3 times ( 9th June)
    • The breeding season will last for 10 weeks and finish on 6th July.
    • Once a day AI is being used and cows are being inseminated at midday each day.
      • If a cow is AI’d at 12 noon and she is still showing signs of being in heat again that evening, that same cow will be AI’d again the next day (12 noon).
    • Teaser bulls fitted with a chin ball harness and tail paint continue to work well in aiding to identify cows in heat.
    • The majority of Newford cows are also in an ideal body condition score for breeding and this has helped with breeding performance to-date.

Recap sire selection

  • The following criteria was used this year when selecting sires for the Newford Herd;
    • 5 Star on Terminal Index (within & across breed)
    • < 7.4 % calving difficulty for strong mature beef cows
    • < 5 % calving difficulty for young beef cows
    • > 70 % reliability on the calving difficulty index
    • > 2.00 score on conformation index
    • < 7 % for 1st calvers
    • > 35 Kg predicted carcase weight for mature cows
    • > 25 Kg predicted carcase weight for young cows
  • Suckler cows and calves are thriving very well with favourable weather underpinning high levels of grass utilisation.
  • All the calves were weighed on the 19th of May and they are two months at grass now. Their performance to-date is summarised below;
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A selection of calves and their performance is detailed below:

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Grass performance

  • Soil temperature on Newford Farm on Monday the 11th of May was 15.9 ° degrees at 10cm soil depth.
  • The soil moisture deficit around Newford (Athenry) at the moment is 58 mm and the farm is now at the point where grass growth will be restricted (soil moisture deficit is the amount of rain required for the soil to reach field capacity (saturation).
  • Approximately 4-5 mm of moisture is evaporated per day on these long warm, dry sunny days.
  • Like most beef farms around the country, we here in Newford are watching the drought conditions very closely but at the moment we doing just OK.
  • If we don’t get rain or if the grass cover falls below 500 Kg DM/Ha , we will consider introducing round feeders into the paddocks with good quality surplus round silage bales taken off the farm during the year to the cows and the beef animals
  • Grass utilisation is very good at the moment with all paddocks been grazed down to 4 cm
  • Paddocks with surplus grass are being  skipped and a total of 180 round bales have been made on those skipped paddocks around the three farms where grazing is taking place.
  • Cones farm first cut silage was cut on Tuesday the 9th of June for pit silage, it got a 24 hours wilt. This silage will be fed to suckler cows next winter so the crop has been allowed to bulk up at the expense of harvesting high DMD silage. It should still be in the region of the high 60s on DMD.
  • A half bag of protected urea (38N + s) per acre is being spread after each grazing at the moment.
  • The 10 acres of first cut round bale silage on Tuohy’s farm was sprayed for docks with Dockstar (2 litres /Ha) on the 28th of April.
  • A good strike was achieved from the spray and the grass crop was baled on the 25th of May (6 bales per acre)
  • 2500 gals of water slurry has been spread on those 10 acres since cutting

Newford farm produced a short video of its first cut round bales on Tuohy’s farm and a link to the video is provided below;