Kay O'Sullivan January Update
Walk farm to assess grass covers
- Walk farm to see how much grass is available
- Decide what paddocks are suitable for grazing
- Select priority stock for early grazing
Taking faecal egg samples can help reduce anthelminthic resistance
- Take samples after stock are housed for over 5 weeks
- Get samples analysed for lungworms, stomach worms, liver fluke and rumen fluke as a minimum
- Only dose stock based on positive results and discuss the correct product to use with your vet
Weigh stock to monitor performance
- Cattle should be weighed at housing to estimate weight gain at grass
- They can be weighed again before going to grass to calculate weight gain over the housing period
- This will help to identify the best and poorer performing cattle, and identify any possible health/nutritional issues
Kay is starting to measure grass on her farm this year. She walked her farm and the figures were uploaded on to PastureBase Ireland. The farm cover is 357 kg DM/ha and her soil temperatures ranged between 7.6 to 8.1 oC.
Kay will have a significant demand for grass in the spring as she will be lambing from mid-January onwards and calving from early April. As she is an organic farmer, she cannot spread any chemical fertiliser and therefore has to balance grass growth with the amount required by her stock. The cows and in-calf heifers have access to a grass paddock and are supplemented with silage, and 35 cull ewes/hoggets are currently at grass full time.
It will be important for Kay to measure grass on her farm in the next few weeks to monitor grass growth and ensure that she does not run tight in March/April.
The suckler herd on the farm were housed in late December for approximately one month and were given access to grass again at the end of January. The ewes are brought into the shed for lambing and are then let back to grass when lambs are strong enough and weather conditions allow.
Kay took faecal samples from her cows in early January, which were tested for liver fluke, rumen fluke, lung worms, stomach worms, tape worms and coccidia. The samples came back negative for all of these and so Kay has not needed to dose them, which has been the case for a number of years.
However as Kay regularly takes faecal samples, she will take further samples from the weanlings/yearlings in February to check the worm and fluke burden again in case any have appeared.
Kay weighed her 2021 born heifers (9) on 14th of December. They averaged 292 kg, having gained 0.67 kg/day since their previous weighing on 18th of September.
The 2021 born bullocks (2) averaged 285 kg on 14th of December and the 2020 born heifers (6) averaged 506 kg.