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HERD UPDATE 11.05.2020

General detail


  • Newford Farm is into its second 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 on the farm again this week.
    • Up to Wednesday 13th of May, 75 cows have been AI’d out of 92 cows.
    • This equates to 82 % of the herd AI’d in the first 16 days of breeding.
    • Teaser bulls have been fitted with a chin ball harness for marking the cows.
    • The breeding season will last for 10 weeks and finish on 6th July.
    • Once a day AI will be used and cows will be 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).
    • The majority of Newford cows are in an ideal body condition score for breeding.
    • Cows have been tail painted yellow for the first round.
    • Mineral buckets are in all paddocks with cows to prevent grass tetany.
      • Air temperature is low at night time increase the risk of ground frost

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
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Tail paint will be used along with vasectomised bulls fitted with a chin ball to aid heat detection.

Calves enjoying the warm but cool sunny evening last Monday the 11th of May

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  • In between jobs and  during the busy breeding season power washing is being carried out to give as long as a period as possible to rid the shed of any bacteria.
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Grass performance

  • Soil temperature on Newford Farm on Monday the 11th of May was 13 ° degrees at 10cm soil depth.
  • The soil moisture deficit around Newford (Athenry) at the moment is 50 mm and the farm is now at  the  point where grass growth will be restricted
  • If Newford farm gets another week without rain and the surrounding areas reach 75mm soil moisture deficit grass growth will stop
  • 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
  • Utilisation of all paddocks is very good at the moment with all paddocks been grazed down to 4 cm
  • Paddocks with surplus grass (13 acres) were skipped and 37 round bales were taken of these skipped paddocks.
  • 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 silage on Tuohy’s farm was sprayed for docks with Dockstar (2 litres /Ha) on the 28th of April. The farm is hoping to cut this silage and make round bales within the next 10 days

The average farm cover and growth in the last week across the different grazing blocks is listed in the table below;

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*Cover carried out on the 11th of May

Key recommendations for this week

  1. Monitor all cows regularly for heat detection
  2. Watch out for any health issues with the cows , especially Grass Tetany
  3. Keep teaser bull’s ball harness topped up with paint
  4. Monitor grass growth closely
  5. Keep mineral buckets out in paddocks with the cows