With an estimated 1.6m births set to take place on Irish dairy and suckler farms over the next three months, next week marks the start of the busiest months of the year.

The calving season is make or break, especially in a suckler system.

Preparation is key and this week, we have outlined a few simple steps to make sure you are ready for calving and equipped to deal with anything that comes your way.

A calf’s life starts off with colostrum and it’s absolutely essential that they receive adequate colostrum. It’s also important that it is good quality.

Bord Bia’s Seamus McMenamin takes a look at calf exports and what 2022 might hold. A recent lift in veal prices across Europe is a very timely boost ahead of a busy period for Irish calf exports.

Tullamore Farm vet Donal Lynch outlines some of his tips to keep calves healthy over the next few months. The two Cs, cleanliness and colostrum, come up a lot and if both boxes are ticked it could reduce a lot of problems this spring.

Aidan Brennan has some great advice to prevent and treat bloat in young calves. Attention to detail when mixing milk replacer is key.

As calf sales start to get busy, Tommy Moyles visited Bandon Mart this week to check out the calf trade – you can read his report with photos on pages 48-49. Kieran Mailey also outlines some simple tips for farmers at calving time, with preparation being number one.

Next Wednesday night sees us kick off our spring webinar series with the first episode ‘Calving the cow and care of the calf’. It’s live on farmersjournal.ie at 8pm on Wednesday 2 February. Send us your questions at webinar@farmersjournal.ie and we will answer them on the night.