Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Aonghusa Fahy May/June 2023



  • AI used for 6 weeks
  • Synchronisation of 7 heifers – 5 held to date
  • Heat detection Aids
  • LM Bull mopping up for 3 weeks /Plan to finish breeding season
  • Selection of replacement heifers for 2024- 18 to choose from


  • 20 units of Protected Urea applied mid-June
  • Getting excellent graze-outs
  • Benefits of forward creep grazing


As can be seen from the AI chart, breeding started on April 22nd.  Using AI gives Aonghusa a better choice of bulls to match the cows and he can also pick bulls for suitable replacements.

Aonghusa uses AI for the first 6 weeks and will then use his LM stock bull to mop up for 3 weeks. The bull will be pulled in the 24th of June ie a 9 week breeding season.  Aonghusa  has used MooCall Heat for the last 3 seasons to aid heat detection.  A vasectomised bull is  fitted with a Moocall Heat collar  and  the cows and heifers are fitted with a special tag.  Moocall HEAT sends a message to Aonghusa  once the vasectomised bull detects a cow in standing heat giving an optimum time to serve the cow.  He also tails paints the cows.

As a part-time farmer , AI would not be option without the use of heat detections aids. In 2023, all of the herd have got 1 AI straw . 6 have repeated in the 6 weeks period and they received a second straw.   During the 6 weeks of Ai, Aonghusa keeps the cows on fields adjacent to the yard. Aonghusa will scan towards the end of July.

This year , Aonghusa synchronised 7 heifers and 5 have held to date which is 70%. Scanning will confirm the result but Aonghusa would be very happy with that result.

This year Aonghusa used bulls like LM4184 (LOYAL)  which is a very good dual purpose bull and SI4950 – a simmental bull with a replacement figure of €199 . He was used on mature cows only. Aonghusa also picked terminal type bulls e.g CH 2247 and CH4491.

18 heifer calves were born this year with 14 born in the first 6 weeks of the calving period. Aonghusa will need 7 to 8 heifers so he is spoilt for choice . Already he is starting to pick the top 10 – those from milky mothers , that consistently calved every year. 

 Picture 1: Potential replacements?


May was a good month to grow grass on the farm . Growth averaged 52kgs/D/ha per day and this just met the herd demand. The dry weather in June affected growth especially at the start of the month and dipped to the 20kg/DM/h/day. But the days ahead remained at 15-16 days. The rainfall at the end of June boosted growth and Aonghusa removed surplus grass as bales silage.

With the average farm cover dropping to 640kgs/DM/ha – Aonghusa decided to apply 20 units of protected N to the non-clover swards.

Picture 2: Excellent clover swards

Picture 3: Forward grazing of the calves

Aonghusa finds forward grazing the calves has many advantages

  • The calves get priority to the most palatable grass with cow competition!
  • This ensures cheap weight gain
  • The cows are kept back and used to graze the paddock out tightly
  • To helps break the bond- calves weaned in a stress free way later on
  • Controlled meal feeding – no creep feeders

Picture 4: Excelllent graze out by the cows


Picture 5: Horse stake used to lift wire, calve go under