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Ruairi Cummins March/April Update 2023

Grazing & silage

Grazing & silage

  • Catching up on spring grazing targets
  • Spreading protected urea on grazing ground
  • Fertilising silage ground
Fodder budgeting

Fodder budgeting

  • Calculating silage required for next winter – 490 bales needed
  • 24.5 acres closed for first cut silage
  • At least 25 acres will need to be cut for second cut/surplus silage
Under 16 month bulls

Under 16 month bulls

  • First group of the finishing bulls drafted for slaughter
  • Average carcass weight of 407.5kg and grade U-3-
  • Remaining bulls averaged 631kg on 1st April


The cows and calves have now been all turned out to grass full time. This is helping Ruairi to catch up on his spring grazing targets; he had a target to graze 78% of the farm by 14th April and had 73% actually grazed. The plan is to have 100% of the home block grazed by 21st April and to start the second rotation then.

Ruairi measured grass on 15th April and had a farm cover of 647kg DM/ha with 14 days of grass ahead. He had a grass growth rate of 18kg DM/ha since 1st April. To help boost growth Ruairi has spread ~20 units of nitrogen/acre in the form of protected urea as slurry was spread previously.

Silage ground has been closed up on the farm for cutting in mid to late May. Some of it was spread with slurry at a rate of 2500 gallons/acre and then topped up with 46 units of nitrogen/acre in the form of protected urea. Another silage field that didn’t get slurry was spread with 1.5 bags of 13-6-20 per acre and topped up with 38 units of protected urea/acre and 7.6 units of sulphur/acre.

Grass Wedge April 2023

Cows and calves grazing on the farm

Animal Nutrition

Ruairi completed a fodder budget for his farm. He expects to have 150 days of a housing period for 45 cows and 120 days for 29 store cattle. The store cattle are expected to be fed 1.5 kg ration/head/day. There will also be 16 finishing bulls for 210 days, getting an average of 5kg/head/day over the housing period.

According to the fodder budget on PastureBase, Ruairi will need to make 490 bales of silage for next winter. Fortunately he expects to have 60 bales of silage and 60 bales of hay left over from this winter, so that leaves him with 370 bales to make.

There are 15 acres closed for first cut silage on the home block and 9.5 acres on the out farm. At an average yield of 8 bales/acre for first cut it would yield 196 bales of silage. To make up the remaining forage requirement, Ruairi will need to cut at least an extra 25 acres for second cut or as surplus paddocks to ensure he has enough fodder for next winter.


The first batch of six finishing bulls went to the factory on 3rd April. They had an average carcass weight of 407.5kg and an average grade of U-3- which Ruairi was delighted with. They ranged in age from 14-15 months and made an average price of €2297 per head.

This leaves 10 finishing bulls who were an average weight of 631kg on 1st April and Ruairi expects to be drafting more of these by the end of the month. As a group, they are weighing 47kg heavier than last year’s finishing bulls which means that the age at slaughter will be reduced. The extra weight was gained at grass before they were housed which was cheaper than trying to put it on in the shed at this time of the year. Ruairi is putting it down to a combination of the forward creep grazing at grass and the vaccinations to prevent IBR, RSV and Pi3 which he is continuing with this year. The remaining bulls are on 8kg ration/head/day, along with good quality silage.

Finishing bulls on the farm