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Ken Gill November/December Update 2023

Caving update & breeding season starting

Caving update & breeding season starting

  • Calving update
  • Breeding started on 30th October
  • AI bulls used so far
Winter diets

Winter diets

  • Silage sample results from red clover
  • Autumn cows can be fed 77.66% DMD 2nd cut silage
  • Stores can be fed 74.6% DMD 1st cut silage
Weights & factory performance

Weights & factory performance

  • Latest weights from store cattle
  • Slaughter performance of 2021 cattle
  • 5 cows culled


Six heifers are left to calve between now and December. 60 live calves have been born between 6th June and 23rd September, with 7 mortalities.

Breeding started on 30th October with 10 cows and 2 heifers bred to date. The heifers were bred to AA6682 and AA4303, while the cows were bred to AA4087, AA4303, AA4089, AU4683, LM4302 and LM4351.

After narrowing down the breeding list by selecting cows for culling, Ken now has 35 cows to breed to replacement bulls, 31 cows to breed to terminal bulls and 17 heifers that can be bred to easy calving bulls with good maternal and terminal traits.

Autumn born calves in a sunny shed

Figure 1: Autumn born calves

Animal Nutrition

Three silage samples were taken from the red clover silage and the results were as follows;

  • First cut silage:
    • 6% DMD with 15.55% crude protein at 41.41% dry matter (Cut 23rd May)
  • Second cut silage:
    • 66% DMD with 15.37% crude protein at 26.43% dry matter (Cut 5th July)
    • 1% DMD with 12.89% crude protein at 56.88% dry matter (Cut 1st September)
  • Third cut silage:

The autumn cows have the highest energy demand on Ken’s farm as they are rearing calves and being bred so they will be fed the 77.66% DMD second cut silage. After breeding, they can be fed a combination of the third cut silage and the first cut as calves will be grazing outdoors by day then.

The store cattle can be fed the 74.6% DMD silage to help meet their target weight gains of 0.6kg/day over the housing period.

Ken also plans to take a silage sample from his grass silage pit when it is opened.

The red clover crop itself was mulched on 16th October with a mulcher topper machine which has a small flail. Farmyard manure was spread on it to help replace nutrient offtakes from previous cuts. Lime was spread on the new red clover ley on 6th October to help increase the soil pH.

Autumn cows eating red clover silage

Figure 2: Autumn cows eating red clover silage


The 2022 heifers (29) were weighed on 30th October and averaged 397kg after gaining 0.52kg/day since 26th June.

The 2022 bullocks (35) averaged 427kg on the same day, after gaining 0.55kg/day since 26th June.

These weights are slightly back on 2022 where the heifers averaged 0.55kg/day over the summer and the bullocks averaged 0.57kg/day. They are now grazing the turnips, rape and kale and will be weighed coming off of this before housing to determine their weight gains.

The final batch of cattle were slaughtered on 5th October. Six heifers were slaughtered this year and they averaged 328kg carcass weight, grading R+3- at 25.1 months of age.

The 36 bullocks had an average carcass weight of 361kg and graded R=3- at 25 months of age. The carcass weight was similar to 2022 (362kg) but the bullocks were 0.8 months older this year.

Five cows were culled conventionally on 31st October and averaged 321kg carcass weight. They graded O+3+ and made an average price of €1275/head.

Cull cows

Figure 3: Cull cows