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Ed Curtin July/August Update 2023

Update on movements

Update on movements

  • Latest purchases
  • Weanlings and yearlings sold through the mart
Assessing biodiversity actions on the farm

Assessing biodiversity actions on the farm

  • Benefits of hedges, margins & flowering trees
  • BMPI assessment for the farm
  • Area identified for improvement
Weather creating health challenges

Weather creating health challenges

  • The bad weather this autumn has resulted in health issues
  • Calves treated for coccidiosis and respiratory disease
  • Some dairy beef calves housed


One heifer was purchased for breeding through the mart on 12th July. She was born on 8th September 2023 and is bred by LM4217. Her replacement index is €160, although she is not genotyped.

On 16th August a LMX cow with a Limousin calf at foot was bought to join the autumn herd. An AAX dairy beef heifer calf was also born to replace a suckler calf that died and the cow has now taken to her.

On 7th September an in calf LMX heifer was bought. She has a replacement index of €83, with a daughter milk figure of +3.72kg and a daughter calving interval of 1.75 days. She is in calf to EBY (LM bull) who has a heifer calving difficulty figure of 7% at 99% reliability.

Ed sold his main batch of 6 heifer weanlings on 12th July. They averaged 424 kg and made an average price per kg of €4.75 which he was very happy with.

On 19th July 13 AAX yearlings were also sold. They were an average weight of 387kg and made €2.48 per kg through the mart.

Cows and calves lying down in the shed

Figure 1: Some of the calved cows with their calves


Ed completed the biodiversity management practices tool for his farm. He scored 7 out of 8 on the assessment.

Hedge management is an important part of farmland biodiversity and the height of the established hedges on the farm is at least 1.5m above ground level, which makes them attractive for nesting birds to stay safe from predators. There is also a flowering thorn tree in every hedge which grows flowers for bees and fruit for birds and small mammals.

The average field size (i.e. surrounded by a permanent boundary such as a drain or hedge) is less than 5ha which is positive as this means that wildlife corridors are available for birds, bats, bees, butterflies and small mammals to travel along safely.

Field margins are beneficial to biodiversity as native wild flowers and grasses can grow there, and Ed retains at least 1.5m uncultivated margins when cultivating soil. Some field margins are sprayed to control weeds during the summer and this will be an area for improvement on the farm.

All watercourses on the farm are fenced and were mainly done through the Blue Dot EIP project. The fence is at least 1.5m from the top of the bank and no livestock are permitted to drink out of watercourses. These actions prevent any silt or excess nutrients entering the watercourse to protect the habitat for instream biodiversity.

This self-assessment sheet is available at https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/environment/biodiversity-countryside/Teagasc-Biodiversity-Management-Practice-Assessment-Tool.pdf

Animal Health

The weather has not been kind for autumn calving, or for the dairy beef calves at grass. Some of the dairy beef calves got coccidosis and they also had to be treated for respiratory disease, along with the suckler calves. A pen of the dairy beef calves have been housed and the cows and calves have been housed for the last 2 days. The cows and calves will go back to grass if weather allows, but the dairy beef calves will not.

Housed dairy beef calves

Figure 2: The housed dairy beef calves