Newford Farm is waiting on one final cow to calve to close off the 2022 calving season.

Performance has been positive overall, with cows calving in a tight timeframe, as detailed in Figure 1 below, and minimal health issues or intervention required.

There were 73 cows recorded as having a normal calving, 13 required some assistance, one recorded as considerable difficulty and one veterinary assistance.

According to Teagasc's Michael Fagan, the average liveweight of calves was 42kg. There were five cases of mortality (5%) and, as discussed in previous updates, three cases were attributed to still births, one calf was lost during delivery by caesarean section and one calf died after two weeks of age, due likely to a congenital defect.

Breeding focus

With calving coming to a close, attention is quickly turning to breeding.

Cows have received vaccination for leptospirosis and mineral supplementation via a bolus being administered this week.

Jerry O’Brien of Newford Farm has started monitoring and recording breeding activity.

Tail paint has also been applied to aid quick heat detection and all cows will be body condition scored in the coming week to ensure breeding preparations remain on track.

Grass management

There are 75 cows and calves at grass on the Newford home block.

Grass growth has been relatively low, ranging from single to low-double-digit growth rates, but excellent utilisation is helping to keep the first grazing rotation on track.

The farm received a blanket fertiliser application on 4 March, with 25kg protected urea applied per hectare followed by 37kg/ha on 26 March.

Michael said that from now on, fertiliser applications will be area-specific, with higher allocations applied to more productive swards, determined by grass measuring.

Yearling bullocks were also turned outdoors on the Tuohy’s outfarm land block on 23 March.

The bullocks were weighed pre-turnout and are averaging 454kg liveweight.

They were housed at 364kg on 18 November and achieved an average daily gain over the 125-day housing period of 0.72kg per day.

Yearling heifers continue to graze silage ground on the Cones outfarm block and will continue to do so for the next two weeks before this area is closed for silage.

Jerry continues to allocate grass on daily allocations and utilisation is reported as excellent.