Grass growth has taken off on Tullamore Farm over the last two weeks. The farm grew 82kg/DM/ha/day in the last seven days, which was just under double the demand of 43kg/DM/ha/day.

Average farm cover is sitting at just over 800kg/DM/ha, with the grazing block currently stocked at 3.1 LU/ha. Things are changing very quickly and the farm has gone from being tight for grass three weeks ago to having too much grass.

Some of the drier paddocks are going to seed at a very early stage so it’s a real challenge to keep quality in the swards ahead of the grazing groups.

This 14-month-old Limousin bull killed out at 358kg dead weight (57% kill-out) grading an R+3- coming into €1,532.

Some of these covers will need to be topped. Shaun said: “We have took out 12 acres last week and if the current weather continues we will likely be taking out more strong paddocks for bales next week.

“We were lucky to get 12 acres of hay baled last weekend which yielded 50 bales. We buy two loads of hay every year and thought with the surplus that we have and the good weather we would try and save our own.”

Fertiliser spreading

Fertiliser spreading has eased up a little in the last two weeks. Shaun was spreading 22 units after each grazing but decided to skip the last round given that growth was almost double the demand.

There is very little slurry left on the farm so silage fields will get four bags of 18:6:12/acre for second-cut silage.

We killed another 10 bulls last week

Fifty acres have been closed up for second-cut silage.

“We killed another 10 bulls last week, which leaves 11 bulls left to kill in the next few weeks. Last week’s bulls came in at 389kg carcase weight.

This 14-month-old Limousin bull killed out at 387kg dead weight at 62% kill-out, grading a U=3= and coming into €1,703.

“We had our highest recorded kill-out so far last week, with two bulls killing out at 63%. One was sired by Tomschoice Ironstone and the other was sired by Fiston.

“The Fiston-sired bull was our best-priced bull so far, grading a U+2= and coming into €1,973.64 at €4.46/kg. Average date of birth of bulls is 8 March 2020 and we finished calving at the end of April so the next six weeks will see the remainder killed.

“Price has improved on last year, with the average base price this year working off €4.10/kg. When you add in the 12c/kg in-spec payment and the fact that we are killing bulls on the grid, the average price we have received this year is €4.30/kg, with the top prices received so far for our U+ grading bulls coming in at €4.46/kg.

“Grading has been good, with 18 U-grading bulls so far and 13 R grades, with the majority of those at R+. The average grade of the group so far has been R+.

“We are also pretty happy with fat score, with the average fat score for the group coming in at 2+. Carcase weight is coming in a little lighter than expected at 374kg. We had hoped this year to cross the 380kg carcase weight barrier but so far we have just been able to do this with 13 of the 33 bulls.

“Bulls have gained 1.47kg/day since birth and have been gaining 1.72kg/day while on the ad-lib feeding phase. The average price of our bulls so far this year has been €1,616/head at just over 14 months (438 days) of age.”

Table 1 outlines the details on all of the 33 bulls killed so far off Tullamore Farm. It outlines the bull performance by breed in 2021. While numbers are too small for any statistical analysis, they make for interesting reading.

“Our Simmental bulls have come in with the heaviest carcase weight at 389.6kg, while our Aberdeen Angus bulls have come in at the lightest at 332.7kg carcase weight.

“The best-grading breed has been our Limousins, with bulls coming in with an average of a U- grade and six out of the seven Limousin bulls killed so far grading a U- or better.

The Limousin breed is also top for kill-out percentage, coming in at 60% kill-out for 2021 so far.

Other jobs

The youngest group of calves on the farm got their clostridial booster shot this week. That means all calves have now received two shots of clostridial vaccine.

Calves were faecal-sampled and came back with a low worm count so no dosing was required.

“We will faecal-sample again in two weeks’ time to determine the route for dosing,” said Shaun.

Lambs were also faecal-sampled and they came back negative for stomach/gut worms but positive for coccidiosis

“We have had a few incidences of pneumonia in older calves and lost a calf two weeks ago that didn’t respond to treatment. The management of vaccination policy hasn’t changed so it’s difficult to say why these cases have occurred.

“Lambs were also faecal-sampled and they came back negative for stomach/gut worms but positive for coccidiosis. All lambs got a coccidiosis treatment and the youngest group of lambs got their clostridial vaccine along with a pour-on treatment for flies.”