In our eyes for a suckler cow to be profitable she must hit a number of key targets.

She must have milk, go back in calf easily, be docile, be easily fed and have a calf every year. She must also possess the genetics to be able to transfer good conformation and ability for high weight gain to the calf.

Weighing is a big part of the Tullamore Farm project and all animals are weighed regularly to assess performance and take corrective action if needed.

The most important weighing of the year happens in autumn where we weigh all cows and calves on the farm. Cows and calves were weighed before the introduction of the BEEP scheme.

This weighing now doubles up as our BEEP weighing. It also allows us earmark cows for culling and highlights the cows that we should be keeping future replacements out of. On the sire side it’s a great way of comparing sires across a large number of cows to see how they perform.

Table 1 outlines cow weights and weaning efficiency while Tables 2 and 3 outline weanling weights over the last two years.

The average weight of cows on Tullamore Farm is 649kg. This ranges from 547kg for our first-calved heifers to 715kg for our mature cows. We are not aiming for huge cows on the farm.

Weight gains have been consistently above 1.3kg/day for our male calves and 1.1kg for our female progeny over the last number of years. This is a key component of finishing bulls under 16 months and calving heifers at two years of age.