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Kay O'Sullivan March Update

Have you completed your 2021 profit monitor?

Have you completed your 2021 profit monitor?

  • Examine where highest costs are
  • Look at improving output per livestock unit through breeding
  • Focus on making over 70% DMD silage to ensure good weight gain next winter
Could you help to record species on your farm?

Could you help to record species on your farm?

  • Download the ‘Biodiversity’ app
  • Visit the website for guidance
  • Record species on your farm when you see them
Do you want to reduce the risk of anthelminthic resistance on your farm?

Do you want to reduce the risk of anthelminthic resistance on your farm?

  • Sign up on the AHI website for the parasite control TASAH consultation
  • Discuss how to reduce anthlminthic resistance on your farm with your vet
  • The programme funds a free visit and two free faecal egg samples for the farmer


Kay completed her profit monitor for 2021. As she is in an organic farming system her variable costs are very low for the cattle enterprise, amounting to only 24% when taken as a percentage of the gross output (the usual target is 45%). This is even lower for her sheep enterprise where the variable costs are only 14% of the gross output.

The biggest area for Kay to focus on this year will be to increase the output per livestock unit in her cattle enterprise which was 238.1 kg/LU in 2021. Due to personal reasons this was lower than usual in 2021. This year she will aim for the target of over 350 kg/LU by doing the following:

  1. Aiming to get as many cows in calf as possible so that 0.95 calves are produced per cow every 365 days.
  2. Maintaining low mortality by selecting appropriate AI sires for cows with reliable calving difficulty figures.
  3. Maximising weight gain at grass through grass measuring and grazing paddocks at 1400 kg DM/ha.
  4. Producing good quality silage so that weanlings gain the target 0.6 kg/day over the winter.
  5. Regularly monitoring the worm and fluke burden of stock by continuing to take faecal egg samples.


Kay uses the ‘Biodiversity’ app to record sightings of bees, birds, bats and occasionally ladybirds on her farm. This has been developed by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for recording various species such as pollinators, butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies, marine biodiversity and rare plant monitoring.

The sighting information required is:

  • Recorder name
  • Recorder email
  • Record date
  • County
  • Location name
  • Spatial reference
  • Species name
  • Number seen
  • Photograph of species

There are useful guides for identifying species available on the website, along with e-training resources and details of upcoming workshops around the country. Further information is available at https://biodiversityireland.ie/

Animal Health

No dosing or vaccinating have taken place on the farm since the last visit. A faecal egg sample was taken from the yearlings yesterday.

Kay has signed up for the parasite control TASAH consultation with her veterinary practitioner which is available for the first time in 2022. A farm visit and two faecal egg counts will be funded through the programme. The purpose is to allow farmers and vets to discuss best practices around parasite control with the long view of minimising the further development of anthelmintic resistance. This is a free and voluntary programme supported as part of the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020, co-funded by the Irish government and the EU. Further information is available at https://animalhealthireland.ie/programmes/parasite-control/parasite-control-tasah-consult/