Turnout for youngstock has been delayed on the Martin family farm this spring as below par grass growth has left covers light on grazing ground.

“We got 40 in-calf heifers turned out in mid-April. Another batch of 40 or so got out a fortnight ago. These were maiden heifers and heifers that were served but haven’t been scanned yet,” James Martin said.

There are still 30 maiden heifers housed at present and, with grass supplies remaining tight, they are likely to stay in for a few more weeks.

The Martins run 160 Holstein cows in fully-housed system in Dromintee, Co Armagh.


It is starting to quieten down in the calving shed and all cows that are due over the next three months have been served by beef bulls. James likes calving to slacken over the summer months as they are busy in the fields.

He only uses beef semen on cows that are due from May onwards as he finds it harder to calve heifers by 24 months of age if they are born in the summer and are weaned in the autumn or early winter.

Read more in this week's Irish Farmers Journal and online.