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Newford Farm September/October Update 2023

General News

Winter has arrived on Newford Farm with the first half of the cows housed on the 5th of October following more heavy rain and deteriorating ground conditions. The rest of the cows were housed on the 15th of October. The finishing cattle were housed in groups between the 5th and the 12th October. The bullocks were housed averaging 620 kg and the
remaining 5 heifers were housed averaging 600 kg. All cattle had their tails and backs clipped. Silage samples were sent for analysis with the table of results included below and all SCEP data has now been uploaded to ICBF in advance of the November 1st deadline. Weights for our replacement heifer calves have also been uploaded as part of our requirements for the Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme. All young stock and in calf heifers remain at grass and are content. Weanlings have done well since weaning and are receiving 1.5 kg. weanling ration daily. All weanlings received their second dose of the year in the middle of the month as coughing had become a problem.

Housed cattle eating silage

Figure 1: Housed cattle eating silage


Silage sample results

Figure 2: Silage sample results


As mentioned above, cows and finishing cattle have been housed. The reducing dry matter and large volumes of rain had led to reduced feed value of grass for finishing cattle, and cows were beginning to do significant damage to fields. At the time of housing, the average farm cover was 900 kg DM/ha. Housing the cows means that the young stock can be kept out much later in the year, with weanlings out until early December last year. Current grass cover on the farm is looking like a similar grazing season will be possible this year. One of the main benefits of this is that it allows maximum utilisation of slatted shed space. With all shed space currently occupied, space for weanlings will come available as finishing cattle are moved out. Current AFC is 770 kg DM/ha with growth at 18 kg DM/ha and a demand of 14 kg DM/ha. This week’s grass wedge for the main grazing block is included below.

Grass wedge

Figure 3: Grass wedge

Performance - Finishing Cattle

This month saw another bundle of cattle finished on Newford Farm. A group of 10 bullocks averaging 660 kg were finished with an average carcase weight of 365 kg and graded R= 2+. Two more heifers weighing 670 kg and 540 kg were also finished and killed out 56 % each at 375 and 302 kg respectively, grading R-3-. The average sale prices achieved was €1765 and €1630 for bullocks and heifers respectively. Some of the cattle and their details can be seen
below. All of the remaining bullocks for finishing have now been housed averaging 620 kg and are receiving 6 kg concentrates daily, split into morning and evening feeds.

Cattle performance

Finishing cattle


We were delighted to welcome two groups of students during the month, with the Level 6 Advanced Drystock students from both Kidalton Agricultural College and Mountbellew Agricultural College calling to see the farm. As many may be aware, Newford Farm will be relocating in the New Year due to the planned development of a medical device facility on the land at Newford, so opportunities to visit the farm as it is now are getting scarce. If anyone else would like to arrange a visit, please contact Stephen.Frend@dawnmeats.com
Visitors at Newford

Figure 4: Visitors at Newford