Calving is well underway here in Abbeyleix now. We have 60% calved now as I’m writing this. All is going well, thankfully.

We had one cow with milk fever and then she got E coli mastitis, but we noticed it early and got the vet out to her, and she recovered quickly.

Any cows we feel are at a higher risk of milk fever, such as older cows and high yielders, get Reviva in 20 litres of warm water. I was getting complacent and didn’t give it to that cow, so that kicked me back into gear.

We have 60% heifers calved so far, as a result of using sexed semen. I’ve had strong interest in heifer calves already from repeat customers. It is great to get good feedback when people are happy with the calves they bought.

My opening average farm cover was 1,081kg DM/ha, which I am happy with, we had a growth rate of 4kg DM/ha over the winter.

Discussion group

We had a discussion group meeting last week and some farmers wouldn’t like the cover that high, as they feel they wouldn’t get it all grazed.

I feel we never have enough grass in the spring and always have no problem getting it all grazed. We have 20% of the platform grazed now and we are well on target to have 35% grazed by the end of the month.

Grazing has been tricky with the rain – we have had 70mm in February already compared to 42mm in all of January.


On the days with heavy rain, we kept the cows in. I think there is no point having them out when 15mm or 20mm of rain is falling. We have the batt latch timers set to open three hours after the cows go out, when they are out.

Cows are getting 4kg of nuts in the parlour, 10kg DM of grass and a pick of silage. The last milk results were: 5.43% fat, 3.91% protein, and SCC at 110,000.

We haven’t spread any more slurry or fertiliser since, as ground is just too wet and there is no point putting it out with the risk of run-off.

Solar approval

We finally received grant approval for our solar panels recently and, hopefully, they will be installed in the coming months.

We sold the Shorthorn bull calf for €325 this week

The company has a big backlog of installs to get through as the grant approvals are coming through.

We also received approval through the farm safety scheme for a safety rail on the silage wall, a head scoop for the crush and a mobile crush and penning.

We sold the Shorthorn bull calf for €325 this week, so it wasn’t a bad outcome after all. I might leave the fence off for a few days during the breeding season this year.

One of our calving boxes needed some repair work last week. Firstly, after doing a night check and putting two cows into the box, I was back home and just getting in to bed when I checked the camera, only to see eight cows in the box and the gate upside down and sideways.

We got that temporarily fixed up that night and properly fixed a few days later.

Then, a heifer was in that box another few days later, and she jumped out over the front gate and twisted that gate up nicely.

This one needed a full replacement, but it was there for 40 years, so I think it owes us nothing.

Hopefully, the new gate will last as long, but I have my doubts. There just isn’t the same stuff in them anymore.