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Herd Update 26.09.2022

General Detail

  • *Newford 17 ½ months old in-spec Beef Heifers finished off grass without meal *
  • To-date 83%, or 33 out of the 40, 2021-born beef heifers have now been sold at an average age of 17 ½ months, or 527 days of age. Heifers were drafted off grass with no concentrate supplementation provided since turnout on the 20th January.
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  • The average grade for the 33 heifers slaughtered to date was R - 3 =
  • Their average liveweight going up the ramp of the lorry was 552 kg
  • Their average date of birth was the 22nd of February 2021 and their average kill date was the 3rd of August 2022 (527 days old on average)
  • The average carcase weight was 287 kg and their average kill-out percentage was 52 %
  • The average sale price per kg received was €5.07/kg
  • The average sale price was €1,468 per head
  • Only one heifer out of the 33 sold did not receive the quality payment system in-spec bonus as she graded R = 2 =
  • The only concentrate feeding the heifers received was at weaning time for BEEP-S and during the short winter housing period of 2021/2022
  • The heifers consumed roughly 251 kg of concentrates costing approximately €90
  • These heifers remained at grass after weaning and were housed on the 7th of December at 379 kg liveweight. They remained housed for just 44 days before being turned back out to grass on the 20th of January 2022 weighing 411 kg on average
  • There are seven remaining 2021-born beef heifers and their average weight is 560 kg
  • The majority of these seven heifers will be drafted at the end of September and they have been receiving 3kg of meal since the 1st of September. They are being supplemented with a high energy, 12% crude protein ration costing €410/t
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All 2022-born progeny have now been weaned .The male weanlings (60), which will outnumber the heifer weanlings (26) were weaned on the 12th of September while heifer weanlings were weaned on the 20th of September.

  • The average weaning date for all weanlings for 2022 is the 16th of September
  • The male weanlings were weaned at 327 kg equating to an average daily gain (ADG) of 1.37 kg from birth to weaning.
  • The heifer weanlings were weaned at 328 kg and recorded an ADG of 1.32 kg from birth to weaning
  • The weanlings are receiving 1.5 kg of concentrates at grass since weaning

A summary table of weights is detailed below;

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The weaning procedure included housing weanlings in adjacent penning to their dams. Additional gates are tied in place so weanlings cannot access cows to suckle. The fact weanlings had visual and sensory access to cows has helped in reducing stress.

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While housed weanlings have access to concentrates and silage, while cows are offered straw only at the outset to aid in reducing milk yield and speed up the drying off process.

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After a separation period of 36 hours, the weanlings were joined back with cows for a last suck.

Male calves waiting for their last suck 36 hours after being housed in adjacent penning.

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The last feeding took place in the handling yard to facilitate more straight forward separation.

The weanlings are then moved to a straw-bedded shed which is out of sight of cows. They continue to have access to concentrates and silage.

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The next priority for the weanlings is to get them back to grass as soon as possible with this practice also helping to lower the risk of any health issues.

Cows on straw before and after weaning along with mineral buckets.

The cows were offer some silage on day six along with the straw.

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While the cows are being dried off they will be fed silage and straw. Slats are scraped daily and a light layer of lime is spread on top of the slats. This practice has proven to be very successful over the last number of years in helping to reduce the incidence of mastitis.

Weaning efficiency

  • All the suckler cows were weighed at weaning and the average weight of the Newford suckler cow is 622 kg.
  • The average weaning percentage relative to cow weight for the herd was 53%
  • The average calving date was the 15th February 2022
  • The average weaning date was 16th September 2022
  • So on average the weanlings were 213 days suckling (birth to weaning)
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  • Dam: AA x Friesian-cross cow born (9th Calver)
  • Calf Sire: Scardaune Mark (CH 4491)
  • Born 21st February 2022
  • Birth weight 49 Kg
  • Weaned on the 12th September at 361 Kgs
  • ADG from birth to weaning 1.54 Kg
  • Suckling 203 days

Biodiversity on Newford Farm  

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  • Newford Farm is working to enhancing the level of biodiversity on the farm. The farm has been selected as a demonstration farm as part of the Teagasc Signpost Programme. This will see a suite of measures introduced over the lifetime of the programme that will serve to reduce the volume of gaseous emissions the farm produces, protect water quality, enhance biodiversity and ultimately reduce cost and create more profitable and sustainable farming. A number of these initiatives have already commenced.
  • Newford set aside a small portion of old grazing ground beside the main yard, this ground has not be grazed over the summer months.
  • This protected ground has many wild flowers in it and it has been a major source of food for the bees during the summer.
  • An undisturbed part of Newford Farm is home to the native Irish honey bee who has set up a hive within an old tree trunk on the farm
  • A further five acres was reseeded with Abergain and Aberchoice at a rate of 12.5kg grass seed and 1.5kg of the clover variety Buddy per acre.
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  • Newford Farm is focusing on increasing the clover content in all swards. It is hoped this will support current levels of output and animal performance while allowing the volume of chemical fertiliser being used to be reduced.
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  • Newford Replacement heifers enjoy a lush clover-rich paddock