Grazing conditions

Heavy rain over the past week has put huge pressure on grazing fields. For some, this has meant housing has had to take place. The weather forecast isn’t great for the next few days, so the chances are that more cattle will be housed at the weekend.

Try to house cattle on a dry day as housing wet cattle can lead to health problems. In cases where it has to occur, leave as many doors open as possible. Good ventilation is critical in these cases.

If weaning inside, have a straw bedded creep area available for calves to minimise stress as much as possible. Feeding meal will help to do this.

If you are on a vaccinating programme for pneumonia, have all your shots up to date prior to weaning. In some cases it might be possible to let calves back out again and keep dry cows housed.

Heavy beef cattle on difficult ground conditions will also be better off housed if doing damage. Up the meal levels a little at housing to get them over the transition in the diet from grass to silage for a week or two.

SCEP Deadline

Some suckler farmers have been in touch to say that there is a delay in getting their genotype results on animals tagged during the summer.

The delay is in relation to a tender process for carrying out the genotyping. Weatherbys DNA laboratories have been awarded the tender, but there is a backlog of samples. The ICBF says that all results should be out in the next two weeks.

It’s especially critical for farmers who are participating in the Suckler Carbon Efficiency Programme (SCEP) for the first time.

Participating farmers need to have 50% of the reference number of cows in their herd genotyped 4 or 5 star on the replacement index on 31 October 2023. The cow/heifer must be over 16 months of age on 31 October.

A number of special sales of genotyped heifers will take place in marts around the country in the coming weeks. The annual in calf heifer sale from the Irish Farmers Journal beef and sheep demonstration farm, Tullamore Farm, will take place on Wednesday 25 October in Roscrea Mart. It will be an evening sale which will take place after the heifer weanlings have been sold around 8pm.

National Beef Welfare Scheme

The closing date for the National Beef Welfare Scheme has been extended until midnight, 26 September. Speaking to farmers at the National Ploughing Championships this week, there is still a lot of frustration being levelled towards the scheme.

One of the biggest concerns was the implications of animals testing positive for IBR and what that means for the herd in terms of restrictions.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed that restrictions will not apply to herds that have animals tested positive for IBR antibodies.

They also confirmed that the results will only be shared with a farmer’s vet and farmer along with the Department of Agriculture.

The Irish Farmers Journal livestock team held a webinar on the scheme last week, answering a lot of questions. You can watch the webinar here