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John Barry September/October Update

Preparing for autumn breeding season

Preparing for autumn breeding season

  • Autumn breeding season will start on 1st November
  • Mainly terminal bulls being used on the herd
  • 84% conception rate in the spring herd at scanning time
Autumn grazing targets

Autumn grazing targets

  • Target farm cover of >1000kg DM/ha
  • Paddocks are now being closed for the winter
  • Calves are being gradually weaned indoors which is reducing demand for the spring herd
Autumn cattle sales

Autumn cattle sales

  • Cull cows from spring herd are sold
  • Live prices are holding well
  • Spring heifers and bulls are performing very well, gaining over 1.4kg/day one average


Approximately 30 cows have calved to date on the farm. Two calves were delivered by C-section as they were big calves from a Belgian Blue bull. The remainder have calved on their own. One calf was slow to suck after birth.

Breeding will start on 1st November which will give an expected calving date of late August/ early September 2023. John plans to finish breeding at the end of January to give a 12 week breeding season. Four cows have been picked for culling due to age and a lack of milk. John will also be breeding 5 of his own heifers and has the option to buy in replacements too.

The bulls will be similar to the spring herd;

  • ZEP for heifers, daughters could be potential replacements
  • Replacement bull: SI4147 (Curaheen Gunshot)
  • Terminal bulls: CH4159 (Knockmoyle10 Loki ET), CH5932 (Bud Orpheus), BB4438 (An De Beauffaux)

The spring herd were scanned on 30th August. There are 35 cows and 7 heifers due to calve down between 13th February and 16th May next year (13 weeks). 50 females were bred in total, giving a 66% conception rate to first service and an overall conception rate of 84%.


John measured grass on the farm on 12th October and had a farm cover of 521 kg DM/ha. This is behind the target of 1000 kg DM/ha but he will be housing half of the spring cows and calves for weaning so that will help to reduce the demand from 34 kg DM/ha and help build the farm cover back up. The growth rate is low at 7 kg DM/ha since 27th August as John’s farm was severely affected by the drought but it has since recovered well.

Paddocks are being closed in a rotation, with the silage ground being the last paddocks to be grazed by the cows before housing. John’s target is to have 60% of the farm closed by early to mid-November as it is a dry farm.

Second cut silage was made on 27th August and the last round of fertiliser was on 3rd September where paddocks were spread with 30 units/acre of protected urea.


John weighed his spring born cattle on 17th of September. The bulls (22) were an average weight of 267kg, having gained 1.46kg/day since birth (average DOB 28/04/2022).

The heifers (20) averaged 246kg, having gained 1.41kg/day since birth (average DOB 08/05/2022).

Stock GroupNo. CattleWeighing DateAverage Weight (Kg)ADG Since Last Weighing
2022 Spring born bulls 22 17/09/2022 267

1.46 kg/day

(Since birth)

2022 Spring born heifers 20 17/09/2022 246

1.41 kg/day

(Since birth)

8 suckler cows have been sold since the beginning of September. They averaged 730kg and made €2.43/kg.

11 heifers were sold, averaging 539kg and a price of €2.75/kg.

9 bullocks were sold that were an average weight of 442kg and making €2.84/kg.

2 cull cows were sold on 14th October that averaged 745kg and made €2.21/kg.