Proinnsias Creedon January Update
Make the most of the seasonal bonus
- Weigh finishing stock to monitor performance
- Estimate finishing times
- Ensure stock are in spec at slaughter, i.e. not over fat, but have reached their full growth potential
Safely loading cattle
- Having a well-designed loading ramp allows for easy access by driver
- Minimise contact with stock by using a 270 degree gate
- Cattle move easier uphill than downhill so plan for this if possible
Be conscious of the clean livestock policy
- Feed high dry matter diets where possible
- Bed stock regularly
- Clip tails and along the backs of cattle at housing time
There are 25 AAX heifers in a straw-bedded shed to be finished on the farm. Proinnsias is a member of a local producer group who are offering a 30c seasonal bonus on eligible stock between 14th of March and 16th of May 2022.
The heifers averaged 490 kg on the 9th of January, so a number will be ready for slaughter soon. Proinnsias picks cattle for slaughter by running them through the cattle crush and handling them to assess fat scores. This is in conjunction with regular weighing to know when an animal has reached its growth and weight potential. Therefore he can estimate how many cattle will be fit for slaughter during the specified time period to qualify for the bonus.
As there is a deadline for booking stock, which are allocated a particular week on a first come first served basis, it is important to contact the producer group as soon as possible.
Health and Safety
Proinnsias works full time off farm and may not be around to help a driver load cattle. Therefore a safe area for loading and unloading cattle is crucial.
He has an excellent loading ramp built which leaves lots of space for a driver to safely reverse up to, and it is also time efficient as there is no time wasted reversing at an awkward angle.
The walkway to the loading ramp is sloped upwards. This leaves it easier to move cattle as they prefer to walk uphill rather than downhill.
A strategically placed gate is located at the top of the slope, which acts as a 270 degree gate to direct cattle towards the trailer at loading time. This minimises direct contact with stock to reduce the risk of a kick or attack from an animal.
Proinnsias is conscious of the clean livestock policy when killing cattle from his farm. His silage is over 40% dry matter, which can help to solidify dung and prevent cattle getting dirty when housed.
The backs of all stock are shaved at housing and their tails are clipped. This helps to reduce the risk of lice and sweating in sheds, and also helps to keep them clean.
The finishing heifers are housed on straw bedding so Proinnsias will make an extra effort to make sure they have a good clean bed of straw to lie on in the weeks before slaughter to ensure they are presented clean to the factory.
This is important as clean cattle at slaughter minimise any risk to human health, maintain high standards in safe meat production and also leads to more efficient processing.
For further information please see https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2016/Teagasc-Clean-Livestock-Policy-Beef.pdf