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John Dunne March/April 2024



  • 47 cows & 33 heifers to be synchronised and inseminated on April 26th
  • Bulls picked in advance
  • The 2 stock bulls are NCT’d


  • The yearling stock are finally turned out in Rathfeston
  • Heavy covers will need to be taken out as bales



  • The dairy bred calves have all been purchased




John starting using AI through a synchronisation programme 2 years ago and the plan for 2024 is to expand the usage to 70 in total, 37 cows and 33 heifers. The main advantages in using Ai is that it gives John a choice of bulls to match his cows and heifers. The genetic make-up of the herd is fast tracked and it eliminates the need for a third replacement type bull.

Ideally, John would have this priority group out on grass since early March but the wet weather has delayed turnout. The maiden heifers are still in but are on top quality silage plus 1 kg of meal to ensure a stable level of nutrition. It looks like that the heifers will stay indoors for the synchronisation programme to keep the diet stable.

The calved cows are outdoors on stubble ground and are fed good quality baled silage . This is labour intensive but the cows and calves are healthy and indoor space is limited. The cows finally got to grass on April 10th so they will have at least two weeks on a rising plain of nutrition before breeding commences.

Photo: Cows and calves out on grass April 2024 prior to breeding

Breeding plan;

This year 37 cows along with 33 heifers were selected for   fixed time AI using a synchronisation programme. Using such a programme saves a lot of time on labour as all will be done in 10 days in a very managed way. John has not got the time for heat detection but  a synchronisation programme allows him to use AI. The CIDRS were inserted on April 13th this year.

The cows programme;

  • Day 0 ; CIDRS Inserted
  • Day 7 ; @ 6pm CIDR out and 2ml estrumate
  • Day 10 ; @6pm AI plus 2ml Receptal

Heifer Programme

  • Day 0; CIDRS inserted
  • Day 5 ; @ 6pm 2ml of Estrumate
  • Day 6 ; 6pm CIDR out plus 2ml of estrumate

Day 8; @ 6pm AI plus 2ml of Receptal


As John is focusing on breeding replacements he has selected bulls with a high replacement value . The focus is to increase milk and /carcase weight. The target going forward is that the cows sub traits will have a carcase weight of 20kg + and a milk value of 6kgs + along with a negative calving interval.

Drumline S is a LM bull that has been selected . The carcase figure is 38.3kgs and he will be used on plainer cows of a lower carcase value but that have  plenty of milk. Drumline is also an easy calving bull which is an important trait for John.

Photo: Drumline S

Another bull that will be used is the Simmental bull Curaheen Gunshot. He is a well proven bull that will add to both carcase and also bring in milk. He will be used on mature cows only and not on heifers.

Both the CH and AA bulls have got their NCT and their feet also have been checked. All good to go!

Photo: Curaheen Gunshot

Photo; Maiden heifers 2024


The continuing wet weather has delayed turnout on the farm. The yearlings are always turned out to the outfarm in Rathfeston . Even though this is a dry farm, john could not get out stock until April 13th. 108 yearlings were let to grass and with the weather settling somewhat, they are managing good graze outs.

Photo: Delayed turnout but finally get to grass on April 13th

Photo; April 16th getting good graze outs despite the recent wet weather

Photo: Heavy covers will need to be taken out as baled silage



120 calves have been purchased now and are settling into their new environment. John feeds the calves at 7am and again at 6pm. In total it takes 4 hours per day  between feeding and bedding to look after this number of calves. John has a milk cart and a timed water heater to ease the workload.

Photo: A good straw bed and a warm shelter in important

Photo: Calves are eating 1 kg of meal/day and have access to fresh water at all times

Photo: April 16th - great to see the pens getting emptied. Just the last cows to calve are in