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Eamon & Donnchadh McCarthy June Update

Planning for summer grass

Planning for summer grass

  • Grass growth is back 0.5 t DM/ha versus 2021
  • Autumn calvers coming home will increase demand for grass
  • Record silage yields on PastureBase
Winter feed

Winter feed

  • Complete a fodder budget for your farm
  • Enter measurements for silage pit and number of bales made so far
  • Estimate how many acres you will need to close for second/third cut to have enough winter feed
Prioritising finishing stock

Prioritising finishing stock

  • Weigh finishing animals monthly to track weight gains
  • Avoid any sudden changes in environment for U16 month bulls
  • Watch dates to ensure that U16 month bulls don’t go over age for slaughter


Eamon measured grass on 25th June. He had a farm cover of 721 kg DM/ha, with a demand of 42 kg DM/ha and a growth rate of 36 kg DM/ha and 17 days of grass ahead.

Grass growth was slow on the farm this year and this is the most comfortable the McCarthys have been. When compared with their PastureBase information from 2021, this is evident as they had grown 5.6 t DM/ha up until 1st July in 2021, and this is back to 5.09 t DM/ha to the 1st July this year. There will have significant grass demand over the summer and coming into the autumn as the autumn calvers will return home for calving, so Eamon and Donnchadh will continue to measure weekly to make sure that they have enough grass growth to match demand.

First cut silage was later this year than planned due to wet weather. Eamon and Donnchadh cut it between the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June. Yields ranged between 2.7 t DM/ha (~5.5 bales/acre) to 5.1 t DM/ha (10 bales/acre).

Animal Nutrition

Eamon and Donnchadh completed a fodder budget for their farm on PastureBase Ireland. For a 5 month winter with 27 spring calving cows, 18 autumn calvers, 14 in calf heifers and 50 calves/weanlings (receiving 3kg ration/head/day) they require 115t of dry matter.  The silage pit that’s left over from last year contains 27t DM. The 270 bales of silage that have been made so far this year contains 65t DM and they plan to make a further 130 bales from 29 acres which will give 31t DM in total. This means that they are well on track to producing enough winter feed for their stock over the winter.


The 2021 born autumn bulls (4) were weighed on 2nd June. They averaged 388kg, having gained 1.04 kg/day since the 29th January.

Seven bulls were slaughtered between 1st and 9th June. They were 15.7 months of age and had an average carcass weight of 410kg, with an average grade of U=2+. They made an average price of €2312/head.

The remaining under 16 month bulls (5) were weighed on 4th June and averaged 644kg. They gained 2.61 kg/head/day since 21st May which is a significant improvement. These bulls were moved from a straw-bedded shed to the slatted shed which visibly affected their weight gains while they were adjusting to a new shed. Next year Eamon plans to avoid this stress from them next year by having enough straw bedding, and possibly feeding them on slats before moving them to a straw bedded shed for their ad-lib diet. The bulls will be slaughtered in the coming month.