The 2023 breeding season has begun on Tullamore Farm. Calving is over, with two cows calving last week a little later than expected. It’s been a good week weather-wise on Tullamore Farm, with all stock now outdoors apart from the batch of under 16 month bulls who are on ad-lib meal indoors.
There are currently 80 cows and calves turned outdoors. Lambing is also complete, with all ewes and lambs also out grazing.
It was a difficult start to the grazing season with turnout delayed for cows and calves but the last week has brought more normal grazing conditions, with temperatures and everything back to normal a little later than farm manager Shaun Diver would have liked.
At the moment there are 40 cows bred out of a total of 78 available for breeding in 2023.
Farm manager Shaun Diver said: “We saw a huge difference with the new shed being available to us this year, so we decided to start breeding about two weeks earlier this year.
“The shed means we have a creep area for young calves, so we can afford to calve earlier. It will also mean we have more of the calving out of the way by mid-March when lambing starts.
“We had a lot going on here for the second half of March, with cows and calves going out and lambing in full swing, so calving earlier might spread the workload more.
“Limousin sires Norman Inventor and Tomschoice Lexicon have been used, along with Simmental sires Curaheen Earp and Curaheen Gunshot.
“Bulls with better carcase figures have been chosen while trying not to forfeit milk and fertility.”
A decision was taken this year to synchronise the heifers on the farm. There are 40 heifers available for breeding on the farm this year, with 30 of the heavier heifers selected for synchronisation.
Heifers sold carrying a heifer calf at the Tullamore Farm annual heifer sale have attracted a premium in recent years, so using sexed semen will guarantee a heifer calf.
Attention to detail is important and heifers were bred eight hours after the second shot of GNRH. Timing of AI is important and needs to be a little later when using sexed semen.
Two bulls were used on the heifers – Moondharraig Knell from Progressive Genetics and Elderberry Galahad from Dovea Genetics.
The cost of the programme is €40/head and with the straws coming in at €45 to €75/straw, it’s coming in at just over €100/head in total.
Bulls continue on ad-lib meal, with all bulls weighed two weeks ago. They averaged 580kg, with the heaviest bull coming in at 680kg.
Shaun said: “We are on target to be drafting our first batch of bulls for slaughter around the end of May. The full batch are averaging 1.6kg/day at the moment and are really starting to push on over the last few weeks.”
Grass growth came in at 49kg DM/ha last week ahead of a demand figure of 44kg DM/ha.
There have been about 40 units/acre of protected urea spread across all of the grazing area of the farm.
Silage fields have been closed up, with this ground getting three bags of 24:2.5:10. The reduced application rate will mean a cut of good-quality silage will still be planned for late May.