Last Saturday I scanned the cows and heifers that were served in January, and I’m glad to say that all bar one heifer are in-calf.

As I had said in a previous article, things had gone very quiet and I wasn’t sure what to think. I can relax now for a while in the knowledge that things seem to be progressing.

We also scanned a few cows that calved a couple of months ago, but still haven’t shown any sign of heat. Or at least I haven't seen the signs.

Time pressure

My scanner assures me that I hadn’t missed any of them and that they just haven’t cycled yet. The cows he said have eggs on their ovaries, but their ovaries just seem to be dormant at the minute. They will obviously cycle in time.

However, seeing as I am two months into the breeding season, time is not something I want to give them much of! I will speak to my vet to see what the best plan of action is, but I will probably put them of a synchronisation programme to try to speed things up a bit. Even if they don’t hold to this treatment, it should get them cycling and the bull will pick them up the next time round. Two heifers that haven’t cycled yet are on inspection just too immature.

I will try and use synchronisation on them as well, but the programme will probably be different from the cows. I’ll be glad to get to the end of February and let the bull take over from the AI as I’ve had just about enough of sitting watching the cameras for signs of heat!

Wet weather

Land up here remains absolutely saturated, and with another wet week forecast, the slurry situation on a lot of farms including my own is getting serious. Once again calendar farming proves inefficient – land was dryer at the end of January than it is now, but we weren’t allowed to spread.

Tough choices

I killed an under 16 month bull last week, although he was a good calf, he was a twin and was always slightly small for his age. He made €3.79/kg but was light. I was sceptical as to whether I was making the right decision or not or whether I should have let him go over the 16 months and kill him at a heavier weight. If the price of beef rises in the next couple of months then I probably made the wrong decision, but if the price stays the same then I probably would only just make the price of the extra meal back. Anyway, time will tell, either way I’ll just mark it down to experience!

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