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Proinnsias Creedon September/October Update 2023

Managing autumn grass with tricky weather conditions

Managing autumn grass with tricky weather conditions

  • The last rotation has started on the farm
  • Proinnsias’s plans to work around the wet weather
  • The autumn rotation plan on PBI will help him to track progress
Weights & dosing

Weights & dosing

  • Latest calf weights
  • 6 finishing heifers averaged 482kg on 16th September
  • Other finishing cattle will be finished from the shed
Podcast & upcoming farm walk!

Podcast & upcoming farm walk!

  • Proinnsias features on the Beef Edge podcast to talk about winter management on the farm
  • He will host a farm walk on 2nd November
  • See details of both below


Proinnsias Creedon started the last grazing rotation on his farm on September 23. There are 55 calves and 52 yearlings grazing 25.53ha on the farm this autumn. Proinnsias’ priorities for grazing at this time of the year are to keep grass in the diet for as long as possible, graze paddocks out well to have fresh re-growths, but not to sacrifice animal performance or damage paddocks during poor weather.

The high rainfall over the last month has made this very challenging on his heavy farm. The finishing cattle that were being fed meal at grass will be housed, and 10-12 of the heaviest yearlings will also be housed for finishing. Proinnsias expects that he may have to house more cattle if the heavy rain continues, but will let them back out to grass again if ground conditions allow. He will also continue to feed them silage to keep the dry matter up in their diets.

Calves grazing on the farm

Figure 1: 2023 born calves at grass on the farm

Proinnsias plans to have 30% of the farm closed up by October 7, 60% by October 21 and 100% by the end of October, and will be delighted if he can keep stock out that late. Two heavy silage paddocks and two wet grazing paddocks are now closed. The next ones for closing will be drier silage paddocks so that they can be travelled to spread slurry in spring. These will need to be grazed out well as it is unlikely that they will be grazed in spring when the stock demand will be lowest. Sheltered grazing paddocks will also be closed up. The final paddocks to be closed will be the ones furthest from the yard and the most awkward ones to graze.

Watch video below from Teagasc Kildalton farm on how to use the 60:40 autumn rotation planner;

The targets for the autumn rotation plan are that 60% of the farm is grazed from late September to 24th October on a heavy farm and from 10th October by 1st November on a dry farm. The final 40% should be grazed by mid-November on a heavy farm and by late November on a dry farm.

Proinnsias will monitor how he is achieving his targets using PastureBase where an autumn rotation plan is very simply set up. As he records grass measures on the farm and enters grazing dates of paddocks, this will be automatically included in the autumn planner. It is unlikely that he will be ahead of target this year, but if he is behind target he will have to keep as many stock out at grass as possible to get through covers. He could focus on grazing lighter covers to catch up but will also have to graze of heavier covers to avoid leaving them over winter.

If housed cattle are turned back out to grass Proinnsias will put up a fence across the field before turnout to allow them to settle instead of running across wet fields and poaching them.

Autumn rotation plan from PBI

Figure 2: Autumn rotation plan on PBI for Proinnsias’s farm


The dairy beef calves (54) were weighed on 17th September. They are currently split into 2 groups to separate the larger from the smaller calves. The average weight was 161kg and they gained 0.76kg/day since 12th August. They are currently 10kg heavier than the calves at the same time last year, but have had a much more challenging summer with the wet weather.

They were given an ivermectin pour on to treat them for lung worms and gastro intestinal worms. The smaller calves are eating 1.25 kg ration/head/day and the bigger calves are eating 1.5 kg ration/head/day in split feeds. Their previous dose was on 4th August with a fenbendazole drench.

The calves will be vaccinated against IBR, RSV and Pi3 with a booster shot before housing. The smaller calves will be housed full time if the bad weather continues, but the older calves will stay at grass as long as possible.

Six yearling heifers are being finished at grass but will be housed this weekend and finished from the shed. They were an average weight of 482kg on 16th September and are expected to be slaughtered in the coming month. They will be joined by 10-12 of their heaviest comrades who will also be housed to start on a finishing diet this week.

Animal Health

Proinnsias gives an insight into his beef system & how he maximises his farm performance over the winter on the Beef Edge podcast. Listen & Follow on Apple/Spotify: https://pod.fo/e/1f255b

He will also host one is a series of farm walks on 2nd November at 2pm on ‘Getting Winter Ready’ in conjunction with Teagasc and Animal Health Ireland. Topics to be discussed on the day will include housing requirements, winter nutrition, animal health and farm safety. All are welcome to attend and the address is Clondrohid, Macroom, Co. Cork, P12 NX37.

Getting winter ready walk advert on Proinnsias's farm