Weaning is complete on Newford Farm, with the batch of 60 male calves weaned since 12 September, while the smaller batch of 26 heifer weanlings were weaned on 20 September.

Analysis of weight records by Michael Fagan of Teagasc shows male progeny weighing 327kg on average and recording an average daily gain (ADG) from birth to weaning of 1.37kg.

Meanwhile, heifer weanlings weighed 328kg and achieved an ADG of 1.32kg per day.

Male calves, which were castrated before they turned six months of age, are well weaned at this stage, while heifer weanlings are temporarily housed.

All progeny are receiving 1.5kg concentrates and this will be continued until animals are housed.

Weaning process

The same tried and tested weaning process was used again in 2022. This entails cows and calves being penned in an adjoining pen for 36 hours, with calves having no access to suckle cows.

At 36 hours post-weaning, calves are allowed suckle cows for the last time and are then removed to a straw-bedded shed for a period of days before being turned back out to grass.

Cows are offered straw in the immediate period post-weaning, with silage introduced at day six and fed along with straw thereafter until they are also turned back out to grass.

Slats are scraped daily while housed and a light cover of lime is spread to reduce the risk of mastitis.