It’s been a difficult week with regards to weather conditions on Tullamore Farm.

Very heavy rain on Wednesday night and Thursday evening meant cows have had to move on a little quicker than farm manager Shaun Diver would have liked.

Ground conditions have also deteriorated on some of the wetter parts of the farm and Shaun has taken the decision to move cattle away from the wetter paddocks and graze off the remaining heavy covers in this part of the farm with sheep.

There are currently seven groups of cattle grazing on the farm:

  • A group of cull cows.
  • A group of beef bullocks and beef heifers.
  • A group of cows and heifer calves.
  • A group of cows with bull calves.
  • A group of dry cows.
  • A group of 24 in-calf heifers for sale on 27 October.
  • A group of our own replacement.
  • Shaun has decided to sell the group of seven bullocks in the live ring next week.

    These bullocks were castrated, as they were the poorest in the batch with a few with poor growth rates, so we felt the best option was to turn them back out to grass last spring and graze them with the group of heifers. The average weight of the group is 496kg.

    In an ideal world, we would finish these, but for this winter, housing is still very tight on the farm. A new shed has commenced construction in the last few weeks and this will leave a lot more space for housing cattle over the winter period.

    It has been difficult to finish the continental heifers and bullocks off grass in recent years and ideally these would go inside for a six- to eight-week period to come out of the shed at Christmas.

    Grass growth

    Despite the cold and wet conditions, grass growth has continued strong, with 62kg DM/ha of growth being recorded over the last seven days. This is double the current demand, which is currently running at 32kg DM/ha.

    Average farm cover is running at 1,052kg DM/ha. The current grassland stocking rate is running at 2.06LU/ha.

    All slurry and dung has been applied with 1 bag/acre of MOP to be spread on a few paddocks once the next dry period comes.

    We didn’t want to spread the MOP before the last rotation for fear luxurious uptake by cows and causing tetany incidences.

    Weaning progress

    Weaning continues, with 30 out of the 75 cows now currently weaned.

    “We’ll wean a little quicker next week, as it will give us more options if the weather comes bad," said Shaun.

    "Cows are being weaned by taking a few cows out of paddocks every couple of days. This way calves don’t notice cows going and still have cows in the field so it doesn’t stress them out as much.

    “If we have the cows weaned, we could house cows and leave out weanlings. We have found in other years where we have housed cows a little earlier we have managed to keep weanlings out well into November. Heavy cows can do a lot of damage on wet paddocks at this time of year,” Shaun said.

    A few repairs are being carried out this week on sheds and gates around the yard in advance of housing.

    The first animals to be housed will be the group of cull cows. Bales will be fed for a few weeks to avoid opening the main pits.