Michael McGuigan November/December 2022
- Calving is going very well – no issues
- Breeding season started on December 15th
- Current Breeding Plan
Calving started on October 1st and 30 out of the 31 cows had calved by the end of December ie 12 weeks which was the target for 2022. In 2021 the calving spread was a lot longer as can be seen below(red). The plan was to eliminate January calvings and this has worked in 2022. Over 75% of the cows calved unassisted, with 21% needing little assistance. Two needed assistance with calves coming backwards.
The cows are in a body conditions score of 3 at calving. Prior to calving, they are offered a lower quality stemmy silage to ensure that they don’t get too fat. There is a lot of effort in preparing for calving and all equipment checked and cleaned. Calving cameras are used to aid observation.
Post calving the cow and calf are allowed to bond for at least 48hrs. Michael ensures that all calves get sufficient colostrum immediately after birth to give it the best possible start.
The creep area is very well bedded and after 1 week the calf has access to an adjacent grass paddock . There is many advantages to this practice;
- The outdoor environment is a healthy one!
- Reduces straw requirement
- Reduces the maternal bond bringing the cow back cycling quicker
- Less cleaning/Less Labour
- Calf becomes conditioned to forward grazing after total turnout
Calves are given 1 kg of a high quality calf ration fed in the creep areas.
Preparation is key
Calves are well bedded
In advance of the breeding season which commences on December 15th, the cows are getting high quality 74.3% DMD silage plus 1 kg of meal. Once the calf is a week old they can be let out to a paddock which is adjacent to the shed. Research has proven that this helps to get the cow back on cycle again for breeding.
Two male FR weanlings have been vasectomised well in advance and these will be used for heat detection. As breeding occurs in the shed , the cameras used at calving will also aid heat detection.
All of the cows and replacement heifers will get one AI service and a LM bull is used to mop up. To simplify and source high maternal replacements , sexed semen will be used this year. The LM bulls Lennox and LeeHerd Lynx. have been sourced.
The following bulls have been sourced for the mature cows;
- Earp and Lynx (SI), use on Lim cows, suitable for replacement or terminal
- Nation (LM), use on Sim cows, suitable for replacement or terminal
- Lapon (CH), selected cows after midway point of breeding period (terminal view)
- Hamlet (LM), selected cows after midway point of breeding period (terminal view)
- New Red (BB), selected cows with big frames after midway point of breeding period (terminal view)
A good strong vas.bull is key