Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP): Participants in BDGP using a stock bull must have an eligible bull on the holding on 30 June 2022. The bull must be four or five stars on the replacement or terminal index within or across breed on its first genomic evaluation or its genomic evaluation at the time of purchase. The latest ICBF update of its Eurostar evaluations took place last Tuesday 24 May. This will be the last evaluation before the 30 June deadline, so you should log in to your ICBF HerdPlus account and check the status of your stockbull to make sure he meets the requirements of the scheme. You can also check where you are in relation to the female requirements of the scheme ahead of the 31 October deadline. If you need to have females genotyped as part of the scheme, get the animals tagged and returned as soon as possible to avoid delays in payment later in the year.

Dock management: Docks have the capability of producing over 60,000 seeds per mature plant and these seeds can survive for over 50 years in the soil and can germinate when they reach favourable conditions under correct temperature, moisture and light etc. Docks should be controlled as they will reduce grass production; they are unpalatable and will reduce silage quality.

Docks are usually a problem in very fertile soils or in ground that has been poached / damaged where there are open swards. Paddocks poached in early spring where slurry has been spread will provide ideal growing conditions for docks as they will have more open areas to grow and have a high availability of nutrients. Docks favour high index potassium (K) soils. Silage fields generally receive high levels of K through large volumes of slurry, which can make them the worst affected fields for docks.

When spraying for docks it is essential that you use the correct product, at the correct rate and at the correct time. Always spray when the docks are green, growing and are at the rosette stage. Avoid spraying on windy days etc. There are many different products and ingredients to consider when deciding what sprays to use. Speak to your merchant about the best product to use on your farm.

Some of the main active ingredients to look out for when controlling docks are dicamba, triclopyr and fluroxypyr. Be careful to read product labels correctly, use enough water to ensure there is good contact with the weed and only use licensed and authorised sprayers. Always triple rinse containers and avoid spraying when rain is forecast within 48 hours.

Health and safety: This weekend is likely to be a very busy one on farms with many farmers using the short weather window for first cut silage. Never allow young children in the yard around silage-making time. Make sure everyone is aware of the dangers involved. If silage is taking place, keep them as far away from the yard as possible.

Be sure to get sufficient rest, as accidents are more likely to happen when you are tired or lose concentration. Take some time to cut any verges back around gates coming out onto public roads to increase visibility.