This week Tullamore Farm manager Shaun Diver weighed all the young stock on the farm. The bull calves averaged 376kg, which translates to a daily liveweight gain of 1.45kg/day since the last weighing, which took place at housing nearly a month ago.
The bulls are currently on 4kg of a 16% protein ration. This has been built up from 2kg when they were first housed. They will continue to move up to around 5kg over Christmas before going on to ad-lib meal early in the new year.
Shaun also decided to castrate the seven lightest bull weanlings. While they are late-born calves and currently weigh around 290kg, for the amount of meal that they would consume they will struggle to make a significant carcase weight at under 16 months of age.
Instead they will either be grazed next year with the heifers or, with Shaun keeping a close eye on the farm stocking rate in order to meet the 5% reduction in bovine organic nitrogen for the BEAM scheme in the coming months, they may be sold live in spring.
The weanling heifers are averaging 322kg and have achieved a liveweight gain of 0.75kg/day since housing on a diet of 72DMD silage and 1.5kg of meal.
Meal feeding has just been increased to 2kg/day as the heifers move to accommodation off farm for the winter months. Shaun plans to reduce the meal level again in the new year and cease meal feeding a few weeks prior to expected turnout to grass in spring. The idea behind this is to ease the transition from silage to grazed grass and maximise performance once heifers go to grass.
Last week’s cull cows averaged just shy of €1,220 at an average carcase weight of 389kg. They ranged from a 358kg carcase from a nine-year-old first-cross Limousin cow that graded O=4- and made €1,072 (3.00/kg) to a 428kg R=4- carcase from a six-year-old, second-cross Limousin cow that came into €1,370 (€3.20/kg).
There are three cull cows still on farm to be drafted for slaughter in the coming weeks.