The second batch of 2022-born bullocks were housed on Friday 2 December, with the first batch housed a week earlier on 24 November.

The average weight of the 59 weanlings at housing was 394kg, with bullocks aged 9.5 months of age on average.

Analysis completed by Teagasc's Michael Fagan shows that the batch of bullocks, which were castrated before they reached six months of age, have achieved an average daily gain (ADG) since birth of 1.23kg per day. The ADG from weaning on 12 September to housing was recorded at 0.86kg per day.

The 26 2022-born heifers remain at grass and the aim is to retain these outdoors for until the middle of December, if weather allows.

The performance of bullocks is on a par or slightly ahead of the 2021 crop of male progeny.

The housing weight of 394kg is approximately 25kg heavier than the housing weight in 2021, but this took place 10 days earlier and the average date of birth of the 2022-born bullocks is eight days earlier.

It does have to be noted that performance of a small number of progeny was negatively affected by a number of cows being culled from the herd during the summer due to TB.

Housing management

The bullocks will be offered ad-lib high-quality silage, which tested in the mid- to high-70s for dry matter digestibility, along with 1kg of a high-energy 18% crude protein content ration.

The 2022-born bullocks will have access to high-quality silage and 1kg concentrate supplementation daily.

Health treatments for worm control were administered in advance of housing, but faecal egg counts will be carried out after a number of weeks to determine the need to treat animals again.

Bullocks will have their backs and tails clipped and will also receive treatment for lice as deemed necessary. Consideration will also be given to treatment for liver fluke.

Heifer management

The batch of 26 2022-born heifers remains at grass and they are also receiving 1kg of concentrate supplementation daily.

Farm manager Stephen Frend continues to use 24-hour grass allocations and back fencing to optimise grass utilisation and minimise sward damage.

Teagasc technician Donal Fahy, who replaces Michael Fagan, will now work with the herd alongside new farm manager Stephen Frend.

It is hoped to maintain heifers outdoors for at least another week, with positive growth in recent months allowing the farm to extend the grazing season without affecting the target spring opening cover.