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Olivia Hynes May/June 2024



  • The breeding season started on May 3rd
  • No mop bull this year so there is a big focus on observation and records
  • Olivia has selected a team of CH, LM and BB bulls
  • 17 are inseminated in the first 10 days
  • There are 13 maiden heifers to serve this year


  • Back in April the average farm cover was 400kgs/DM/ha
  • Finally with the recent good weather , grass has responded
  • Silage will be cut in early June – it is a balance of yield and quality
  • Only 2 bales of silage are left-getting sufficient fodder made is a priority


  • Olivia started drafting lambs for sale in mid May
  • 25-30 are drafted weekly


The breeding plan for the farm consisted of two rounds of AI and then letting in a LM bull to mop up. Last year, Olivia found out that her stock bull was sub-fertile and she had to cull empty cows. The stock bull has not been replaced so Olivia will be 100 per cent AI this year.

It is a big step but Olivia has the experience of using AI . There will be extra labour in extending the AI season from six to nine weeks but Olivia will not have to buy and bull that would cost between €3000 to €4000 . This bull has to be maintained for 52 weeks of the year and would only be working for three weeks. In addition, Olivia can now pick a team of bulls to match her cows to produce weanlings for sale and for replacements .

In advance of the breeding season, Olivia has noted and recorded heats . She knows during the first three weeks at the start of the breeding season what cows to watch more closely. The cows and heifers are in very good body condition . They are on excellent grass and Olivia gave the cows a Tracesure bolus with copper back in April.

Photo: Olivia has given the cows a bolus

Photo: A vasectomised bull with a chin ball is used to help with heat detection

Photo: 17 cows have been inseminated in 10 days 

The big advantage in using AI is that Olivia has a team of bulls to choose from. CH bulls like Lapon and Cloonradoon Rickey have  been selected for terminal stock. Both are five stars for terminal traits and used on mature cows only.

For the weanlings sales , Olivia likes the BB bull Delure which she has found to be easy calving  and the progeny are U grade. On the replacement side, Olivia has purchased straws of the LM bull  Powerful Proper . He will be mainly used on heifers and he is 6.2% for calving difficulty. Olivia wants to stay below 8 % for heifers. There is also a highly reliability figure with the bull of 99 per cent.

To improve the milk traits , Olivia will be using the simmental bull Gucci SI4250. He is 7.4kgs for milk, 19.2kg for carcase, so the replacements will be milky and will not increase in overall size.

Olivia will scan after 30 days to check conception rates which is good practice.

Photo: Future of the herd- C.Earp heifer born 2024


With the sheep flock lambing in February and the cows calving in March/April, there is huge demand for grass in spring. The AFC for April was below 500kgs/DM/ha. With the recent lift in temperatures , grass is growing well with an AFC now of 750kgsDM/ha.

With only 2 bales of silage left, the cupboard is bare so it is a big priority to get silage stocks made this year. There will be 40 acres ready to cut at the end of the first week of June. In addition, Olivia will apply another 20 units of pro Urea per acre. Any paddock that gets too strong will be removed as baled silage when it is 2000-3000kgs/DM/ha. While this will be a light crop , the quality will be excellent.

Olivia needs a high quality silage for the ewes and weanlings while a more average silage will be sufficient for the spring calving suckler cows.

Photo: The priority will be to re-fill the pit and make 300 bales of silage. 

Photo: 25th May, silage field in Kilcash - Aiming for quality 

Photo: AFC cover has increased in the past number of weeks

Photo: Gateways have been recently stoned to avoid damage


May/June is all about drafting lambs for sale. Olivia will weigh the lambs weekly and once they are 45kgs , they are sold.

The lambs are vaccinated, worm dosed and moved on to fresh grass on a regular basis. Olivia does not feed meal. Olivia has good handling facilities and it takes approximately one hour to draft 25-30 lambs. It is time well spent.

Photo: Olivia drafts lambs weekly and is targeting a 19kg carcase