This week I caught up with the Keatings who farm outside Westport in Co Mayo.

Drafting stock for slaughter is progressing well with 21 heifers sent to the factory so far. Drafting is running more than a month ahead of the same time last year due to the level of finish on stock this year at grass.

What is really pleasing is that the average carcase weight is similar to recent years, even though slaughter age has been pulled back.

Finishing heifers are getting 3kg of a high-energy finishing nut at grass for a month to six weeks prior to slaughter.


This year’s batch of 56 calves are also progressing well and are on target to be housed in late October at around 240kg.

They have received 1kg of concentrate throughout the grazing season this year with Martin deciding not to pull out the meal feeding at grass this year at all.

Grazing season

It was a difficult start to the grazing season on the farm with conditions far from ideal in April which was then followed by a cold May with poor grass growth.

However, Martin maintains that some good did come from this period. He says he has learned to trust the grass measuring process more than he did in previous years and that he could be confident in the figures when they said he had a sufficient amount of grass ahead of stock.

“In previous years, I would have been running with a much higher average farm cover in May.

“This year we did not have that luxury and cattle were entering much lower and leafier covers more consistently.

“Stock have definitely done better as a result of this. It is something I will carry with me into future years.”