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Proinnsias Creedon May/June Update 2024

Calf performance

Calf performance

  • Calves weaned
  • Management at turnout
  • Weights
Building fodder reserves

Building fodder reserves

  • Fodder budget completed
  • Planning paddocks for cutting
  • New silage slab in place
Finishing heifers

Finishing heifers

  • Last heifers finished from shed
  • Remaining 2022 heifers will be fed at grass
  • Latest weights

Dairy Beef

Proinnsias turned 36 weaned calves out to grass on May 5. Before this, they were gradually reduced from ad-lib ration to 2kg ration/head/day. He selected a sheltered paddock close to the yard that had not received any fertiliser for them to graze first. They were turned out on a calm, dry day where no rain was forecast for that night. He managed them as follows:

▶ straw provided ad-lib;

▶ 2kg ration/head/day being fed in two splits; and,

▶ started grazing in a grass cover of 1,400kg DM/ha, as it contained more stem (fibre) to help prevent any scour issues.

When Proinnsias is happy that the calves are settled at grass and the weather remains stable, he will gradually reduce the ration feeding levels and will improve the grass quality that the calves are allocated.

Overall, he is very happy with calf performance this year, despite the poor spring. While there were some small respiratory disease outbreaks and scour challenges, the calves overcame them very quickly and mortality is currently at 0%: 

▶ performance target: 100kg (minimum 90kg) at 12 weeks of age; and,

▶ current performance: 102kg (range 84-126kg) at 13 weeks of age (36 weighed on May 8).

Monitoring the calves for signs of parasites at grass will be crucial to help their summer performance at grass. Observing them for signs of coughing, scours and taking monthly faecal egg samples will help to prevent any setbacks.

Dairy beef calves after weaning

Figure 1: Weaned calves before turnout


450 bales of silage are needed for next winter (at 25% dry matter) and Proinnsias has 95 bales left from last winter. This means he needs to make a further 355 bales this year so this target will be monitored throughout the year and revised when first cut silage is made. Three is currently 24 acres closed for silage and at an average yield of 6 bales/acre, it would result in 144 bales. Further paddocks may also go for silage due to heavy covers (#10b, 20, 19 and 9).

The bale slab has also been installed and measures approximately 26.38m x 13m (343m2). The channels can collect any effluent from the bales and it now means that the bales can be stacked 3 high as storage is available. Previously the bales could only be stacked two high and were located at the side of fields which were tricky to access over winter. The silage slab also has multiple access points which will make it easier to access different cuts of silage as needed.

New silage slab

Figure 2: Newly installed bale slab is just in time for silage 2024


Six heifers were finished on 17th April at 25.4 months of age. They had an average carcass weight of 266kg and graded O=3+, making €1438 per head.

The last 5 finishing heifers were eating 5 kg ration/head/day and were finished on 8th May at 25.8 months of age. They were 275kg carcass weight, graded O-3+ and averaged €1473/head.

Finishing heifers

Figure 3: Some of the last finishing heifers indoors

The 13 remaining 2022 heifers will be finished at grass and fed 3kg meal/head/day from early to mid-June. They averaged 445kg on 26th May (range of 415 to 490 kg).

The 2023 heifers were weighed on 26th May and were 300kg on average (range to 214 to380kg). They have gained 0.56 kg/day since birth.