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Olivia Hynes January/February 2023

Animal Nutrition

Animal Nutrition

Animal Nutrition

  • Mineral Analysis results
  • Mineral supplementation



  • Preparing for the Grazing Season
Animal Health

Animal Health

Animal Performance

  • “Fail to Prepare-Prepare to Fail”

Animal Nutrition

As part of the Future Beef programme, a mineral analysis was completed for the silage fed to the cows . The result was normal with no raised level of copper antagonists. If there were raised levels  in Sulphur, iron and Molybdenum then the mineral fed to the cows would need to contain protected copper. The cows have just been started on the pre-calver at 120grams/head/day which is scattered on the silage. The pre-claver contains the following;

  • 5% Magnesium
  • 3% Phosphorous
  • 1% Sodium
  • 1% CalciumVitamin A, Vitamin B1 , D and E

 Magnesium (Mg):  Magnesium plays a crucial role in mobilising calcium from bones and increasing gut absorption, to reduce milk fever. Low levels of magnesium can also cause slow calving. Magnesium is not stored in the body, so it is very important it be fed right up to calving.

Phosphorous (P): Makes up approx. 30% of total minerals in the body. A phosphorous deficiency can severly affect reproduction, causing silent heats, irregular oestrus and low conception rates. Low phosphorous is also associated with pica – i.e. eating stones etc.  

Sodium (Na):  Aids in nutrient transfer, waste removal, involved in muscle and heart contraction, rumen and blood pH. Deficiency signs are urine licking, reduced male fertility, lower milk production and depraved eating behaviour.

Vitamin A: Increases disease resistance and stimulates the immune system. Cows that have a deficiency in vitamin A can also produce dead, weak or blind calves because vitamin A is needed for normal growth and development including growth of the foetus. Again it is passed through the colostrum. Can also cause retained placenta.

Vitamin D3: Essential in calcium and phosphorous metabolism. Promotes growth and mineralisation of healthy bones, therefore plays an important role in the prevention of milk fever

Vitamin E: Required for good health and immune function. If fed pre calving it elevates the level in colostrum and help to keep your calves heathy. It does not pass through the placenta, so calves must get adequate colostrum.

 Silage Analysis 

Card ref   
Farmer name: Olivia Hynes Sample ref: Pit silage 13/06
Lab reference: 35746 Receive date: 16/11/22
    Return date: 29/11/22

Interpretation of Guide Values

The cows are currently being housed on the outfarm and they will be moved back to the homefarm 2-3 weeks before calving starts and started on hay plus minerals.

The weanlings intended for sale are on 2-3kgs meals/day plus top quality 73% DMD silage. The replacements heifers are on 1kg of meal/head/day.


Olivia’s farm can be described as very dry so early turnout in February can be achieved provided there is grass available. All of the ewe flock will have lambed by the end of Feb so there is a big demand for Spring grass. While there is some capacity to hold ewes in post lambing , weather permitting , Olivia likes to get out to grass 2 days post lambing for health and labour benefits.

Currently there are good covers of grass at home in Jamestown (  16ha). This area was closed back in October in order to grow grass for February. The average farm cover is close to 900kgs/DM/ha.

There is also additional fields closed on the outfarm in Kilcash since October.

Due to improvements in the fencing infrastructure in 2022, the paddocks were closed on a rotational and controlled basis . More ground could be rested and allowed to recover over the winter period giving more grass in spring. The picture below highlights where the sheep flock are grazing while the adjacent field is growing grass over the winter period. In previous years the sheep would have all the field grazed bare by springtime.

With the use of permanent fencing the fields can be further split using reels and pigtails. This is an easy and cheap way of dividing fields but a good mains fence is required. The aim for the future  is to graze out paddocks in 3 days and rest for 3 weeks. Therefore, more divisions are required.

The month of January is a time for repairing fences , getting reels ready and  fixing water troughs as February , March and April is busy lambing, calving and moving stock .

Animal Health

January is a month all about preparation for both lambing and calving.  It’s a critical time of year with the main aim of delivering as many live, healthy lambs and calves onto the farm.  The following is a summary of the preparation work that will be carried out;

  • All lambing and calving sheds powerwashed and disinfected
  • Plenty of straw in the sheds
  • All equipment e.g gloves/iodine/lube/ropes/stomach tubes/calving jack will be in place
  • Calving camera checked
  • Ewes scanned , grouped and fed according to litter size
  • Family labour sourced
  • Fix leaking Water bowl
  • Veterinary supplies purchased