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Herd Update 30.11.2023

General News

This month saw the last of the 2022 born heifersfinished as well as a large cohort of bullocks and the cull cows with full details included below. Weanlings continued to be grazed right up to the end of the month with weanling bullocks housed on the 20th November andweanling heifers housed on the 23rd November. All weanlings hadtheir tails clipped and were treated for lice at housing. They had received their IBR vaccine two weeks prior to housing. Dung samples will be taken in a few weeks and a decision will then be made on whether they need to be dosed or not. The bullocks and heifer weanlings weighed 370 kg and 340 kg respectively on 8th November. They achieved an ADG of 0.86 kg and 0.6 kg sinceweaning. They will receive 75% DMD silage and 1.5 kg of an 18% CP ration while housed. The in-calf heifers were the last group of stock housed on the 28thNovember.

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Grass Management Update

The housing of finishing stock and cows in mid-Octobermeant there was plenty of grass available for weanlings and in-calf heifers to continue grazing much later in the year. Unfortunately, poor weather conditions meant stock didn’t get full value from the grass available to them, with slightly poorer performance recorded than last year. The closing cover on the farm taken on 28th November is 630 kg DM/ha, which leaves the farmon track to have an expected opening cover of 700 – 750 kg DM/ha and allow for early turnout of stock next Spring. The total grass grown on the farm to date this year is over 11 tonne DM/ha. Total chemical nitrogen spread this year was 128 kg N/ha at a stocking rate of 2.9 LU/ha, which is higher than usual as a result of not renewing our lease on a 30-acre rented block of land for this year. This represents a 19 % reduction in chemical nitrogen use since 2021 while sustaining a 20 % increase in stocking rate. This was made possible mainly through the introduction of clover into swards in recent years. It’s hoped to reduce chemical nitrogen inputs even further in the years ahead.

Finishing Cattle

All of the 2022 born heifers have nowbeen finished, at an average caracass weight of 320 kg which is the highest since the project began. – Full details of the stock finished are included in the table below. This month saw another group of bullocks and the cull cows finished on Newford Farm. A group of 22 bullocks averaging 662 kg were finished on the 27th of November with an average carcase weight of 350 kg and graded R= 2+. Some of these bullocks would ordinarily have been given more time to finish, but were drafted prematurely due to the circumstances the farm found itself in with regards to moving location. The final 3 heifers were also finished at an average livewight of 670 kg, achieving a killout of 59 % equivalent to a carcase weight of 394 kg. They graded well with a U =, and, in a first ever for Newford cattle, two ‘E=’ grading heifers – pictured below.

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On average, the 2022 born heifersthat have been slaughtered between the end of August and now, have a total lifetime concentrate consumption of 280 kg – a further 25 kg/head reduction on last year. The bullocks slaughered so far have a total lifetime concentrate consumption of 450 kg. The remaining 22 bullocks now average 675 kg, have achieved an ADG of 1.55 kg since housing on the 12th October, andare now receiving 8 kg fininshing ration daily along with 74 % DMD silage.

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Visitors and our New Farm

This month saw us welcome the last of our groups to Newford Farm, Athenry. We were delighted to host groups from ATU and Mountbellew Agricultural College (pictured below), as well as a group of Transition Year students from the local secondary school in Athenry. We hope they enjoyed their visit and learned something on their trip.

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The Newford Herd is now undergoing its transition to our new farm in County Roscommon, and we look forward to welcoming more farmers, groups, stakeholders and customers from near and far in 2023.

For any enquiries, or to arrange a visit, please contact

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Cows pictured above settling into their new home in County Roscommon.

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