Newford Farm, the suckler-to-beef demonstration herd in Athenry, Co Galway, started the 2021 grazing season last Wednesday with a batch of 35 yearling heifers turned outdoors.

The heifers were weighed on turnout, along with 21 more heifers which will be turned outdoors next Monday, and averaged 411kg liveweight.

The heifers were housed for 120 days and achieved an average daily gain over the winter period of 0.52kg per day.

Teagasc's Michael Fagan says the top 20 heifers in the group are averaging 451kg, with the group performance well ahead of the corresponding batch turned to grass in spring 2020.

These heifers were turned to grass on 23 March 2020 at an average weight of 411kg.

Heavy covers

Heifers were turned out on the Newford land block and are grazing heavy covers which accumulated over the winter.

The plan is to move these heifers to Coens outfarm in a week’s time once heifers are settled, pending a positive weather forecast.

They will be used to graze silage ground until 10 April, when this ground will be closed for silage.

Calving update

There were 58 out of 92 cows calved as of Friday evening.

There have been two cases of mortality, leaving 56 live calves on ground.

The strongest 21 calves were dehorned and vaccinated a week to 10 days ago and are primed to be turned out on Monday.

Calving is continuing to progress relatively well, with the majority of cows calving unassisted and during daytime hours, with the farm practising restricted feeding of silage from 8am to 4pm each day.