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Ruairi Cummins July/August Update 2023

Autumn grass management

Autumn grass management

  • Building grass covers for the autumn
  • Spreading last round of fertiliser
  • Silage ground is coming back in for grazing
FEC sampling

FEC sampling

  • FEC sample taken
  • Tested for lung worms and gut worms
  • No need to dose at present, but will watch for signs of lung worm
Latest cattle sales

Latest cattle sales

  • Yearling bullocks sold off grass
  • Average weight was 505kg
  • Helping to reduce demand at grass for the autumn


As we move into autumn, Ruairi is making plans for building grass on his farm. He will spread his last round of fertiliser this month; a half bag of protected urea per acre on the home farm and 1-1.5 bags of 18-6-12 per acre on the out farm to help build the soil indexes. Farmyard manure will be spread on second cut silage ground. Fortunately, Ruairi took advantage of a small dry spell in July to get second cut silage made and this ground will now be back in the grazing rotation for August.

The cows will be scanned this month and the bull calves will be separated from the heifer calves. Any empty cows will go to the out farm for finishing at grass so that they won’t have to be housed for the winter. The calves are creep grazing ahead of the cows and will be fed barley at grass before and after weaning which will help to reduce demand. Ten store bullocks were sold in July which has also reduced demand at grass.

While Ruairi is happy that there is plenty of grass on the farm (on target at 17 days ahead), he finds that the herd is going through it very quickly due to the low dry matter. He plans to have over 25 days ahead by September to combat slower growth rates.

Silage was cut on 7th July, when Ruairi took advantage of a small window of opportunity to get it made. It averaged a yield of 8 bales per acre which means that there is now enough feed made on the farm to meet the winter requirements. In addition to this, Ruairi also plans to cut hay on the out farm whenever weather allows so he will have a reserve for the winter.

The reseed has turned inside out in the last month. Ruairi sprayed it with a clover safe spray six to seven weeks after sowing as some dock seedlings, lamb’s quarter and dandelions were appearing. The spray didn’t affect the grass or clover, but it was easy to see the weeds withering away. According to the label he had to wait at least 2 weeks after spraying before stock could graze it. After the volume of rain that fell on the farm, Ruairi waited for a dry day before letting the cows and calves in to graze it to minimise damage.  

Reseeded grass field

Figure 1: The reseeded field 3 days after grazing

Animal Health

Ruairi took a faecal egg sample from the calves and the yearlings which tested for gut worms and lung worms. The results came back negative which means that they don’t need to be dosed. In the past they would have already got one, if not two doses by now so this is saving him money and work which is great. He will keep watching them for signs of lungworm such as husky coughing with their tongues out and neck extended and if this starts they will be given a dose.

FEC sample results

Figure 2: FEC sample results for the suckler calves


Ten yearling bullocks were sold from the farm this week. A past buyer came to look at them and they agreed on a price of €3/kg. They were weighed on the day of sale and averaged 505kg so Ruairi was happy with that and it will help to reduce demand for grass on the out farm.

He feels that they could have performed slightly better in spring as the late turnout when they weren’t getting any ration indoors did not help. However he is aware of this for next year’s cattle if the same situation arises and will feed 1kg of ration/head/day for every extra week that they are housed.

Store cattle at grass

Figure 3: The store bullocks and heifers at grass