Building grass covers: Reducing the length of the winter feeding period is key to reducing costs and making more money on beef farms.
Having a plan for autumn grazing is important in keeping animals grazing well into the autumn and also will set the farm up for early grazing in spring 2022.
You should have 30-35 days grazing ahead of you at this stage of the year.
This will bring you until the end of September and then the grass that the farm will grow in September will take you through October.
On higher stocked farms, an application of 20-30 units/N/ac may help in boosting growth, but it should be spread by the weekend at the latest. All chemical nitrogen needs to be spread by 14 September 2021. Graze the farm in different sections if you can, resting paddocks as you go.
Avoid opening all the gates and letting cattle roam freely across the farm. Grass will run out very quick doing this and you will be left with nothing to graze in October. Start thinking about what paddocks you want to close first in October for early grazing next spring.
Dairy beef webinar: Next Thursday night is the first in a series of beef webinars taking place over the autumn and winter months on www.farmersjournal.ie. The Irish Farmers Journal livestock team will cover a range of topics, with the first webinar on dairy calf-to-beef production with a particular focus on the Irish Farmers Journal THRIVE demonstration farm. Some of the 2020-born cattle have been slaughtered and we will have the most up-to-date slaughter performance, including figures on profitability of different animals slaughtered so far. We will be discussing finishing weights and specifications and will also visit a factory to talk about hitting the right spec and what that looks like. The webinar will take place at 8pm on Thursday 9 September on www.farmersjournal.ie. You can get involved on the night by emailing your questions to email@example.com or WhatsApp them to 086-836 6465. Questions will be answered live on the night.
Autumn calving difficulties: I was speaking to two autumn calving beef farmers this week and both are experiencing a number of difficult calvings in the last few weeks.
On both farms, cows were in very good condition and this has likely led to the calving issues.
It’s been a very good grass year on a lot of beef farms and dry autumn calving cows may not have been restricted as much as other years. In this situation, the last thing you should do is try and restrict cows all of a sudden, especially if they are very close to calving. This will reduce energy intake and could upset the calving process.
Try not to panic – the tendency after a few difficult calvings is to intervene too early. Give cows as much time as possible to make progress before intervening. Make sure cows are beside a yard or have access to a shed and calving gate if needed. Monitoring is key to make sure you don’t miss any cows calving. For cows calving later on in winter, you can try and restrict their feed on bare paddocks or rough grazing before they are housed.