Pregnancy scanning took place on Newford Farm on 17 August with the results identifying seven out of 75 cows not in calf. This equates to an empty rate of 9% with two cows carrying twins. The farm's stockperson, Jerry O’Brien, was expecting six of these cows to be empty as they were recorded in heat following the 10-week breeding season.

The number available for scanning was reduced in recent weeks by eight cows leaving the farm due to TB. Six of these were identified via the tuberculin skin test, with the other two identified in subsequent blood testing of the herd.

Jerry had not noted any of these cows in heat after the end of the breeding, but this is irrelevant now.

While on the subject of TB, three of the six cows slaughtered were found to have lesions, while one of the two calves identified as reactors were found to have lesions.

Analysis of performance

Breeding performance in the batch of 23 in-calf heifers was infinitely better than the last two years, with 21 heifers scanned in calf. This equates to an empty rate of just under 9%. It should be noted that the breeding season for replacement heifers was just six and a half weeks.

The 2023 calving season is likely to be tightly condensed. Analysis of breeding and scanning data by Michael Fagan, Teagasc, shows 54 (72%) cows and 13 (56%) heifers holding to first service. This equates to an overall figure of 75% of cows and heifers holding to first service.

There were 13 cows that held to second service with just one cow recorded in calf after a third service. The comparable figures on the replacement heifer side were seven heifers holding to second service and one to the third service.