Dry Weather and Weaning

With the recent very dry weather, especially in the south of the country, weaning is taking place earlier than normal on some farms. Weaning is a stressful process and is better carried out in good weather rather than cold, wet weather.

Make sure all pneumonia and clostridial vaccinations are up-to-date, and avoid tasks like castration around weaning as this will increase stress and increase likelihood of disease.

Keeping cows on a bare paddock after weaning is a better option than housing, as teats can get dirty and mastitis can be a problem. Weaning is a good time to body condition score cows when they are in the yard.

First calving heifers might benefit from early weaning and a few weeks good grazing at grass before housing to help them regain some condition.

I was speaking to some farmers this week who have started using nose paddles to aid in reducing stress levels in the weaning process. They find them really good.

The idea is that the paddle stops the calf sucking but the calf stays with the cow and therefore reduces any stress. Remember to tick all the boxes for the BEEP-S scheme.

Doing this as soon as possible will mean you will have more options to sell if grass growth deteriorates further.


Time is closing in on the BDGP deadline of 31 October. You must have 50% of the reference number of cows in your herd genotyped 4 or 5 stars by this date.

There are a number of special BDGP qualified heifer/cow sales taking place in marts all over the country over the next few weeks.

Farmers who are falling short of this target can login to ICBF on the morning of the sale and see what heifers have been entered in the mart that day under the Mart tracker tab.

You can select the mart you are going to and it will list the number of eligible heifers at the sale including the lot number of each.

To get the most up-to-date status for your herd, log into your herdplus account on www.icbf.com and click on 2022 BDGP elgibility to determine your BDGP status.

Any tissue samples that have been taken should be posted back at this stage. If you are having problems selecting animals or you have sold animals that have been selected for sampling you are advised to contact ICBF to select other animals.

Doing this now should help avoid any delays in the BDGP payment in December.

Cull Cows

Cull cows continue to be a good trade in marts with very good wholesaler demand for top quality cows. Top quality, well-fleshed continental cows are making upwards of €2.60-€2.80/kg in some cases.

These prices are in excess of what cows are worth to farmers with small numbers going to factories.

While plainer cows are back a little, the trade is still strong and farmers should seize the opportunity if they have cull cows to sell. Scanning should be carried out as soon as possible to determine any empty cows.

Keeping these cows over winter months will increase costs with very little net gain on prices being paid at the moment in marts.