With almost 150 calves now assembled on the Thrive demonstration farm in Cashel, Co Tipperary, it is full steam ahead with calf rearing and keeping stock healthy over the first few vital weeks on-farm.

Speaking to farmer John Hally, he is happy with how the majority of calves are performing so far this year, although there have been some instances of pneumonia and other sickness over the past three weeks.

Changeable weather with huge swings in temperature has not helped this problem. Overall, calf health has been good, but there have been some high temperatures and this requires constant monitoring to ensure it does not become an issue.

The oldest two batches of calves have been transitioned on to once-a-day feeding at this stage and they have access to a paddock around the yard on days that the weather is suitable to let them out.

Meal intake in these calves is now up to almost 0.8kg/day, with 1kg/day the target ahead of weaning. Keeping meal fresh is really important to encourage intakes early in life, as is having meal available at all times, especially directly after feeding, as this is the time calves are most likely to eat concentrate.

Diary date

The Thrive demonstration farm will host an open day on Thursday 18 August, where all aspects of the dairy-beef system will be discussed and debated. From calf rearing to grassland management, calf genetics and finishing strategies, farmers can come along and see the system in place.