Stock bull NCT: With breeding just around the corner, it’s a good time to make sure the stock bull is in good condition and up to the job ahead.

It is estimated that up to 60% of stock bulls could go through a period of sub fertility or infertility on Irish farms so it’s important to make sure everything is right.

Most vets now carry out fertility tests on bulls.

Cost can vary between €50/head and €70/head depending on how many you have to do, but it could be money very well spent if you identify a problem.

Delaying the onset of calving by one month and still selling calves in October would result in 550kg less liveweight to sell in a 20-cow herd or €1,350 worth of stock at €2.50/kg.

Make sure the bull is fit to work.

Check all the feet, especially the back ones as these will be under the most pressure during breeding. Make sure the stock bull has got the same vaccinations as the breeding herd such as those for BVD and Leptospirosis.

Finally, keep accurate records once the bull is turned out. Take a note of heats and watch for repeats in three weeks’ time. Identifying issues early is important.

Weaning dairy-beef calves: Preparation for weaning early March-born calves should have begun. From six weeks of age, calves should be transitioned to once-a-day feeding. This not only reduces the amount of labour required to feed calves, it also encourages the calf to eat more concentrates.

Gradual and gentle changes should always be the aim to reduce stress and minimise the challenge on the calf’s immune system.

Milk should be reduced over a four- or five-day period once calves are strong enough and are at least eight to nine weeks of age. More importantly, calves need to be eating 1kg/head/day concentrates prior to weaning.

Closing dates: The closing date for both the 2021 BEEP-S scheme and the new dairy calf weighing scheme is next Monday 26 April.

Applications can be made on I would go so far as to say every suckler farmer in the country should be in the BEEP-S scheme. Getting paid for weighing calves, vaccinating calves or meal feeding calves and faecal sampling is a no-brainer.

While the dairy calf weighing scheme isn’t worth as much, weighing is a great management tool and joining the scheme might give you the discipline to get the weighing done.

Tullamore Farm Webinar: The third episode in our Tullamore Farm webinar series will go out live next Tuesday 27 April at 8.30pm on

The topics are grazing management, soil fertility, some new environmental initiatives that are being tried out on the farm and animal performance.

No registration is necessary and access is free. If you have any questions you would like to ask our panel of speakers you can email them to or WhatsApp them to 086-836 6465.