With a lot of weaning taking place on farms across the country it’s important to remember this is a very stressful time on the calf.

Stress can lower immunity and bring on disease, so avoiding other stressors like dosing and castrating around this time will be easier on the calf.

Having lungs clear by dosing in advance and having calves vaccinated will help reduce illness. Some farms pull out 5-10 cows at a time, and calves still have cows in the field and sometimes don’t notice their mother is gone.

Once weaned, cows should be dried off by either housing or shut off on dry bare paddocks. Next, the energy content of the diet needs to be increased as their intake of low DM grass won’t be enough to meet energy demand.

Feeding ration will allow a smooth transition onto their new diet and will help avoid a big check in growth rate.

Remember, to be compliant with the BEEP-S scheme you need to feed ration for four weeks pre-weaning and two weeks post-weaning. If you receive an inspection you will be asked to provide receipts.

Grass supplies

It’s been another good week for grass. While temperatures have started to dip, there is still ample grass supply on farms for the next few weeks if weather conditions allow for it to be grazed, especially in the northwest of the country. Grass has also recovered well in the south.

You cannot underestimate the power of weaning in good weather. If weaning is completed there is then the opportunity of housing cows and continuing to graze weanlings at grass for as long as weather conditions allow.

Plan your closing up in line with what paddocks you want to graze next spring first. Stick to the plan and don’t deviate, no matter how much grass is on these paddocks come November.

While the application of chemical fertiliser is now prohibited, any remaining slurry on the farm needs to be spread by 8 October. Farmyard manure needs to be spread by 31 October.

Aim both FYM and slurry at silage fields or grazing fields that are low in P and K.

BDGP heifers

In collaboration with a number of marts around the country, ICBF are holding a number of special sales throughout the rest of September and into October.

All females in these sales will be genotyped four or five star on the replacement index and born before 30 June 2021. If purchased, these heifers will be immediately counted towards your requirement by 31 October deadline.

If you have a surplus of genotyped 4/5 star females currently in your herd after the latest evaluation, the upcoming BDGP eligible female sales might be of interest.

Herds that are short of their requirement will have to purchase genotyped 4/5-star females before 31 October. Details of dates of sales can be found on www.icbf.com

Tullamore Farm, the Irish Farmers Journal beef and sheep demonstration farm, has announced that this year’s annual in-calf heifer sale will take place on Wednesday 26 October at 8pm in Roscrea Mart, Co. Tipperary and online via martbids.ie. Further details of heifers will be profiled in the coming weeks.