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John Pringle May/June Update 2023

Latest Update

Latest Update

  • Is the drought in the south east over
  • If so
    • Apply 20 units N/acre with K +S if possible
    • Graze tight
    • Reduce demand 
    • Complete a fodder budget
Latest Update

Latest Update

  • Pulling the bulls Mid-July to finish calving end of April
  • Recording heats to ensure the bulls are working
  • Synchronised heifers to improve calf perfomance
Latest Update

Latest Update

  • Imporved performance this year due to
    • Better weaning
    • Earlier increasing of meal
    • Plenty of lying area and feed space

Grassland management

35 acres of silage has been cut here in Aughrim, Co. Wicklow. The yield was good and it is safely in the pit thankfully. Rain has finally come but it is sporadic, the soil moisture deficit was >70mm, grass is very scarce and regrowth on bare silage ground will be slow.

John Pringle Silage pit 2023John Pringle silage field after cutting May 2023


John Pringle grass wedge June 2023

The average farm cover is 481Kg/DM/ha, the target for June is 700Kg. This is dwindling fast as demand at 47Kg DM/ha exceeds growth at 37Kg DM/ha.

The plan for fertiliser/slurry was that it was staying in the bag/tank until we got at least an inch of rain, that fell over the weekend, we have a rain gauge, so I know what rain has fallen and with the scattered nature of showers, we need it.

At 70mm Soil Moisture Deficit according to Met Eireann, it was not fertiliser that was the problem. Now the rain has come, the recommendation is to apply 20 units of Nitrogen per acre with sulphur. For those that have low P or K in soils, the advice is to apply whatever is limiting, a product like 18-6-12 + S would be ideal on most farms. I have very high K levels here, so I will apply an N +P+ S compound.  There will also be free mineralised nitrogen to kick-off growth, the estimation is 30Kgs per ha or 20 units per acre, this will really push on the growth, I will need every bit of it to meet my forage requirements for winter.

To reduce the demand, we were running the ewes and lambs plus the cows and calves together to reduce the number of groups on the farm, this really helped grassland management, as we were able to go in, graze and move on, this meant we were not eating re-growths and we had more grass.

We weaned the lambs so we can tighten the ewes into one group and they can be restricted. We pulled out the cull ewe and they will go this week. We introduced creep to the lambs and we will run the lambs in front of the cows, and let the calves creep in with the lambs. This means the lambs and the calves have the pick of grass. The grass DM is high, >20% so what is there is lasting well, I am grazing out tight, but animals are content.

We will scan the cows three weeks after I pull the bulls out and cull anything not in calf. With the heifers, they will go in with the bunch of finishing heifers and I may have to put them on meal earlier and get them out the gate.

With the sheep, grass is well controlled and we have less trawneens. The temptation is to go in with the topper and mow them out, but this will just slow down regrowth’s, where they do occur we can go in an mow after the next round when we do get rain.




Red Clover

Red clover was set the 20th of May and didnt get a drop of rain, it has sat there until now. thankfully it now looks like a good strike

On the 20th 2tonne of lime was applied per acre to a good fine firm seedbed. 14kg/ac of grass seed + and extra kg of clover per acre was sown. To bulk up fooder for next winter 40Kg/ac of a barley oat mix was added, but i think every crow in the vacinity was picnicked on it. Just oversowed red clover with an extra Kilo of seed after the rain, thankfully it now looks like a good strike


John Pringle liming red cloverJohn Pringle sowing clover

Breeding 2023

The breeding season is going well. This year we synchronised and AI’d the heifers, we got 11 out of 13 served. The plan is to get better genetics into the heifers and have better quality calves. We had planned to purchase a high replacement index Limousin bull, but we didn’t see one we liked, so to make life easier we used synchronisation. We used ZAG on the well-grown heifers, then an Angus and an Aubrac on the smaller heifers. (have you the bull names?)

I want all calves to be born ideally by the middle of April, but we will go to the end of April next year as the breeding season started a little later with the wet weather, therefore I have to have the bulls pulled out by the 15th-  of July. I am in an under 16-month bull system so I don’t want bulls born late in the season.

I am observing activity in the paddocks closely to ensure there isn’t a problem with the bulls, I’m not seeing too many repeats thankfully

John Pringle - heifer 873John Pringle heifer 887John Pringle woll heifer 865



The bulls have been going to the factory since the end of May, obviously the Shorthorns were out the gate first, all the bulls will be gone by the end of the month.  I have been delighted with their performance this year. I am putting it down to them being weaned better this year. I had them fully vaccinated and on 2 Kg of meal before they entered the shed, I increased their meal to 3 Kg after housing. I pushed them up on meal a little earlier this year and this kept them settled.

I don’t have fluke on the farm as it is so dry, so I can dose for worms and do the cattle for lice before they are housed, this is also a big advantage as they have nothing holding them back.

They are in a well-ventilated shed, they have lots of lying space on straw and can feed easily.

john Pringle Bull performance 2023

John pringle bulls 2023 1John Pringle bulls 2023 2