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Herd Update 31.08.2023


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Cows and heifers were scanned during the month with 7 cows scanned empty correlating to an 8% empty rate. A quick look over the dates indicates an expected 6-week calving rate in the region of 90% again next year. The maiden heifers were also scanned with 20 of 24 proving in-calf after a 7 week AI period. Two of the empty heifers had uterine abnormalities. Pre-breeding scanning of heifers might be beneficial in future to allow non-contenders to be moved on sooner.

The maiden heifers were also weighed,and averaged 430 kg having gained 0.85 kg daily over the summer. This keeps them on track to calve down at approx 550 kg which is in the target of 80 – 90% of their mature weight.

Grassland Management

Growth has remained constant throughout August at between 50 and 60 kg DM/ha. Demand is constantly increasing on Newford farm at the moment until we get more cattle finished so every blade of grass grown is needed. Second cut silage was eventually mowed on the 1st August, left down for a day and a half before being baled. It was mowed and baled in dry conditions so although not the best quality silage, it will be ideal for dry cows. The after grass is just coming back into the grazing rotation now and will be grazed in the coming week.

Final round of fertiliser will be applied as 38 % Protected Urea +7 S over the coming 10 days to ensure adequate grass going into the autumn rotation. Current farm cover of about 800 kg DM/ha is slightly below where it’s needed but the indoor weaning will allow an extra week to build grass in mid-September. After the 224 ml of rainfall in July, Athenry had another 129 ml in August leading to the wettest July and August in a number of years. To make best use of grass, cattle are being grazed in 1- 2 day paddocks.


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Finishing Cattle

The first of the 2022 born cattle on Newford Farm were finished during the last week of August at 18 months of age. On the day of sale, the average liveweight of the 12 heifers slaughtered was 566 kg and they averaged a 53 % killout at 300.6 kg. The average grade was R=4-. All of the heifers qualified for the QPS bonus. The average price per kilo averaged €4.96 equating to an average sale price of €1490. These heifers had a lifetime intake of 275 kg meal and were housed last winter for just 6 weeks. They achieved a liftime ADG of just over 1 kg. Some of the individual heifers along with their details may be seen below.

The remaining heifers were also recently weighed and averaged 555 kg having jumped to an ADG of 1.4 kg since being introduced to meal with hopes of finishing most in the coming weeks. The low DM in grass in the second half of the summer played a role in reducing daily liveweight gain of cattle at grass. The bullocks were weighed and are currently averaging 580 kg. A bundle of the more forward bullocks have been pulled out and introduced to 3 kg meal also.

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