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Proinnsias Creedon March Update

Complete 2021 profit monitor

Complete 2021 profit monitor

  • Identify the biggest costs on your farm
  • Discuss how costs can be reduced with your advisor
  • Look at ways to improve output per livestock unit on the farm
Take faecal samples from housed cattle after dosing

Take faecal samples from housed cattle after dosing

  • Examine dairy calf results as they are the most likely to be affected by stomach worms
  • Discuss with your vet/advisor if there may be an issue with resistance on your farm
  • Consider if pour-on doses are working effectively on your farm
Monitor cattle regularly

Monitor cattle regularly

  • Weigh finishing cattle monthly to watch weight gains
  • Handle cattle as they come closer to finishing
  • Consider if there are any underperforming stock on the farm that could be sold to reduce costs and simplify your system this year


Proinnsias completed his profit monitor for 2021 to analyse the farm income, expenses and overall performance.

As with most farms the biggest expenses were ration costs (€540/ha), fertiliser (€170/ha) and contractor services (€240/ha). As the farm system involves buying in calves which are brought to finish, along with buying in cattle for summer grazing and finishing the price paid for stock this year will be very important trying to reduce these. The ration costs could be reduced by not feeding meal to calves during May, June and July. However grass quality will have to excellent for them to perform just as well so grass management will be important. Proinnsias is already making excellent quality silage (over 70% DMD) which reduces the amount of ration that has to be fed over winter so this should be continued.  As Proinnsias is trying to build the soil indexes on the farm, there will be limited savings with the fertiliser costs if stock numbers are similar to last year. However he has the advantage of having fertiliser left over form 2021 which was bought at standard prices so that will be a big saving for him in 2022 at current prices.

This year Proinnsias would like to focus on increasing his output per livestock unit to over 500 kg/LU (currently 453 kg/LU). This will involve maximising the weight gain of all the cattle on his farm. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Monitoring calf health: Calves are vaccinated against RSV and Pi3. They will be also given a preventative treatment against coccidiosis. As calves are bought from a number of sources they are housed separately as much as possible to reduce the risk of disease spreading. Proinnsias has also sourced calves from a local farm this year which will reduce stress for them and reduce disease risk.
  • Maximising weight gain at grass: Early turnout of stock when conditions allow will help to increase weight gains in store cattle. Grazing covers at 1400 kg DM/ha will be key for this.
  • Worm burden at grass: Cattle can be faecal tested to determine if they need to be dosed at grass to ensure there is no burden on their systems.
  • Silage quality: By continuing to produce silage quality >70% DMD this will allow cattle to gain as much weight as possible on a forage diet.
  • Milk replacer and ration quality: Feeding a balanced milk replacer and ration with adequate protein and energy which should be derived from good quality ingredients, it will help cattle to perform at their optimum.
  • Housing and feeding space allowances: Having adequate lying space and feeding space for housed cattle is crucial for them to perform well. The new shed will be a huge asset in this regard.
  • Adequate ventilation: Good ventilation in sheds will help to clear stale air and reduce the incidence of disease.
  • Bedding: Keep calves well bedded so that they are not burning energy to keep warm.
  • Breeding: Buying stock that have good ratings on the commercial beef index will ensure that they are genetically predicted to perform well for finishing, i.e. have good carcass weight, carcass conformation, carcass fat, feed intake and docility.

Animal Health

Faecal egg samples were taken from 2021 born calves and the store cattle in mid-February. The store cattle were clear for liver fluke, coccidia, lung worms, tape worms, nematodirus and stomach worms. They showed a low positive result for rumen fluke.

The calves were negative for liver fluke, coccidia, lung worms, tape worms and nematodirus, but showed that 50 eggs per gram of stomach worms were present. The last batch of calves were housed on the 6th of December. All cattle were weighed and dosed on 28th December 2021 with a pour-on which treats for immature fluke (6-9 weeks), adult fluke (10-12 weeks), lungworms, stomach worms and lice. Prior to this, they were dosed in September as some were coughing. This indicates that the dosing treatment did not work effectively. This may be either that resistance is present on the farm (unlikely), or that the pour on was not effective.

Proinnsias will dose them again with an oral drench of a benzimidazole product to change both the ingredient and the method of administration. They will then be faecal sampled again after 3 weeks to check if the stomach worms have been cleared and if the product has worked.

The bought-in calves will be vaccinated after about 7-10 days on the farm to prevent any respiratory diseases caused by Pi3 and RSV. Some of the calves have picked up scours and a touch of pneumonia and have been treated for these. Proinnsias will be monitoring calves for any sign of coccidiosis between one to two months of age.


Five heifers (2 Angus and 3 Herefords) were killed on 22nd February at 23.9 months of age on average. They had an average carcass weight of 268 kg and graded O=4-, making an average price of €1241.

The suckler cows were also sold. One cow who is due to calve to a Saler bull in mid-March made €1370. The other was also in calf and was sold with her calf for €1950. The bull weanling sold for €990 at 360 kg (€2.75/kg).