The 2022 breeding season on Newford Farm ended on 29 June after a 10-week period. Positive breeding performance has laid the foundations for a continued tight calving pattern. From the 82 cows put forward for breeding, there were 61 cows inseminated once. A further 19 cows received a repeat insemination and three cows were inseminated a third time.
Once-a-day AI was the method used, where cows were inseminated daily at 12 noon. Any cow still showing signs of standing heat in the evening following insemination was served again the following day. Analysis completed by Michael Fagan of Teagasc shows that 17 cows displayed standing heat in the evening following AI and were inseminated again the following day.
While this represents a cost to the system, it is judged to be more than covered by a combination of reducing the labour input required from herding cows for AI twice daily and also from the fact that the second insemination is likely to contribute to a higher conception rate.
Heifer breeding performance
To recap on the breeding performance of the batch of 23 replacement heifers, all heifers were inseminated in the first three weeks of the breeding season. Four heifers received a repeat insemination, while three heifers were inseminated three times over the six and a half week breeding period. Heifers will be scanned in the coming weeks to assess conception rates.
The first grazing of multi-species swards sown on 13 May in paddocks totalling 2.43ha (6ac) took place this week. It was a light grazing, with cows and calves moved on once the sward was grazed to a cover of 5cm to 7cm. The higher post-grazing sward height is aimed to help establish herds such as chicory and plantain.
The multi-species sward mixture was 5kg for each of the two grass varieties, Ballintoy and Drumbo, along with 1kg each of the clover varieties Aberherald and Aberswan,1kg Chicory (Puna ll Cichorium) and 1kg Plantain (Tonic Plantain).