The batch of 59 heifers in Newford Farm, the 100-cow suckler-to-beef demonstration herd in Athenry Co Galway, were weighed during the week. Heifers averaged 370kg liveweight, which equates into an average daily gain of 0.58kg per day since housing began 59 days ago.
Bullocks will be weighed in the coming week to gauge their performance. Their last weighing took place on 19 December with the group averaging 359kg liveweight. This is a similar level of performance to heifers of 0.57kg daily liveweight gain.
Both groups are receiving ad-lib silage which tested in the mid-70s for dry matter digestibility along with 2kg of a high-energy ration with a protein content of 18%. Their performance will be monitored in the coming weeks with a view to reducing the supplementation rate to 1kg in February and cutting it out a few weeks later. The target, weather permitting, is to get stock turned out from early to mid March.
The first cow also calved in Newford Farm on Thursday. Manager Iarlaith Collins reports the cow calved two weeks early and required veterinary assistance due to a breach birth. The calf was weak when born and is receiving preferential treatment.
Final preparations are in place for calving which begins at the end of January. Calving pens have been disinfected and calving supplies have been replenished. Slats are being scraped down daily and lime is being applied to reduce the risk of cows contracting mastitis in late pregnancy.
Newford update: full analysis of 2019 slaughter performance
Newford Farm update: preferential treatment for low-BCS cows