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Newford July/August 2023



  • 200 day weights highlights excellent weanling performance
  • Store cattle are weighed on July 5th
  • Males weanlings castrated on August 1st


  • Keeping grass covers at 1400kgs DM/ha
  • Forward creep grazing of weanlings
  • Management of clover swards
Animal Health

Animal Health


  • Positive results for lungworm




200 day weight is an international Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for suckler herds. A calves 200 weight can be accurately predicted based on ADG’s, provided they are weighed between 100 and 300 days. In simple terms, the 200 day weight report measures the cows ability to rear her calf .  Stephen weighed both cows and calves on July 5th and the ICBF report highlighted that the average daily gain of all calves is 1.3kgs/head/day which is very good performance. The target for suckler herds is to have the males calves at 300kgs and the females weighing 250 kgs at 200days. The report predicts that both males and female in Newford  calves will exceed this target and reach 316kgs and 290hgs respectively.

This report will also present the efficiency of each cow as a percentage of their bodyweight which they weaned. The aim is to produce lighter mature cows that can wean a calf equal to or greater than their heavier counterparts.  The target here for suckler farms is that the cow rears a calf that is at least 42 % of her own weight.  The ICBF report for Newford highlights an average efficiency of 52 % .

  • Av calf weight (303kgs) divided by the Av cow weight (589kgs) x 100= 52%

Picture 1: Female 244kgs, ADG 1.32kgs, Sire CH 4321

Picture 2: One half of the twins! - 220 kgs, Sire LM4471

All store cattle  born in 2022 were weighed also on July 5th;


Weight range

Av weight

Males kg



Females kg



Stephen plans to introduce meal in August at 2kgs/head/day with the plan to finish the heifers off grass in Autumn.

Picture 3: 2022 heifers

Castration Procedure

In Ireland cattle can be castrated, other than by a veterinary practitioner, before it attains 6 months of age using a Burdizzo or before it attains 8 days of age using a rubber ring (S.I. 127 of 2014), in both cases without the use of anaesthesia and analgesia (S.I. 107 of 2014). Newford will get their vet to castrate the bulls in the first week of August before they are 6 months of age. They have found castrating and leaving the males with the cows after castration helps reduce stress and will therefore keep animal performance maintained.


Keeping high quality leafy swards in front of the herd is always a challenge . Weather alone plays a big role in managing grass. Back in June, during the very dry spell grass growth dropped to 33kgs DM/ha and with demand from the herd at 70kgs/DM/ha , Stephen had to introduce baled silage to slow the rotation . In July, there has been plenty of rain and grass growth has recovered slightly but the days ahead remain tight at 13.  Grass demand remains high at 61kgs/Dm/ha/day so Stephen will apply another 18 units of protected Urea per acre . The second cut silage will be made at the end of July so this area (8.2ha) will come back into the grazing block.

There is some dung to be applied after the second cut and the after-grass will be prioritised for weanlings post weaning.

Picture 4: Grass cover July 18th, 2023

At this stage of the year, the weanlings are eating plenty of grass and to keep daily liveweight gains at the 1.3 kgs/day , Stephen is lifting the electric wire and allowing them to graze ahead of the cows. There are some great advanatages to this practice;

  • Weanlings have first choice to the most palatable pasture ie no competition from the cows
  • Cows can be restricted to “clean out “ the paddock to 4cm
  • It starts to break the maternal bond making weaning less stressful

Picture 5: Clover field grazed 10 days ago

In the paddocks with clover, Stephen has not applied nitrogen since Spring. He is also conscious to graze these fields before the covers get heavy . This enable to let the light in to the ground to stimulate growth.

Animal Health

Stephen also took dung samples off all weanlings and stores . The reports from FBA highlighted that lungworm was positive . There is no physical evidence on the ground e.g  husky coughs but Stephen will dose for lungworm immediately.

The weanlings will also get their booster shot of Bovipast in the first week of August. They will then be fully covered for any respiratory diseases during  the stressful events like weaning and housing.