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Ruairi Cummins November/December Update 2023

Health at housing

Health at housing

  • Weaning is completed on the farm
  • Most of the cattle are housed
  • Dosing plans for winter
Good silage sample results will reduce meal feeding

Good silage sample results will reduce meal feeding

  • Silage sample results are back
  • Second cut silages are wet, but quality is very good
  • Ration savings will be made from excellent quality
Latest sales

Latest sales

  • Cull cow performance from grass
  • Store heifers and bullocks sold live
  • Latest weights for bulls

Animal Health

All of the calves were weaned in October using the nose paddles. Apart from one calf losing one and doing some roaring at weaning, there was no noise from the others so Ruairi was very happy with them. He found them very ease to insert and to remove and have proved to be a game changer on the farm so he said that he will definitely use them again next year.

The bull weanlings have now been housed for 3 weeks and their backs and tails were clipped. Ruairi bought a new rechargeable cordless clippers this year and it’s much safer than the corded one he had previously. The heifers and bullocks were housed on 30th October. All young stock will be dosed over the next 2 weeks with a pour on which will treat them for stomach worms, lung worms and lice. Faecal egg samples will be taken 6 weeks after housing and the coproantigen test can detect immature fluke if present, but it isn’t typically an issue on the farm. Cows will be treated for lice.

The pens in the slatted shed were measured last winter to determine how many cattle should be housed in each one to have enough lying and feeding space. They are 4.97m long and 4.67m wide, or 23.2m2. The weanlings will need 1.7m2 of lying space and 0.5m each of feeding space. Therefore each pen has sufficient lying space for 13 weanlings and feeding space for 18 weanlings as ration can be fed at both sides of the pen, but a maximum of 13 weanlings will be penned per bay.

The finishing bulls will require 2.7m2 of lying space each so a maximum of 8 bulls will be housed in each pen. They need 0.65m feeding space so this will be available for them as they will also be fed from both sides of the pen.

Dairy beef heifers at grass

Figure 1: The dairy beef heifers will be housed last

Animal Nutrition

Two finishing cows are eating 5kg/head/day of rolled barley. The younger stock bull is also being fed for finishing.

Four silage samples were taken from baled silage. The results were as follows;

  • First cut silage:
    • 76.18% DMD with 14.56% crude protein at 43.61% dry matter (Cut 29th May)
    • 75.52% DMD with 17.35% crude protein at 34.73% dry matter (cut 16th May)
  • Second cut silage:
    • 72.1% DMD with 15.96% crude protein at 20.72% dry matter (cut 11th August)
    • 65.62% DMD with 11.83% crude protein at 23.77% dry matter (cut 9th July)

Ruairi is very happy with these results are they will save him feeding a lot of ration this winter. The weanlings can be fed the 75% DMD silage and won’t need any ration, but they will be weighed monthly to ensure that they continue to gain their target 0.6 kg/day.

The growing bulls can be fed the 76% DMD silage along with 2.5kg of barley and 0.5kg of a 12% ration. They can be gradually built up to a finishing diet of 4kg barley and 4kg of a 12% ration when they reach 500kg, on the 76% DMD silage.

The cows will be fed the 65.62% DMD silage for maintenance over the winter.

Silage sample results

Figure 2: 76% DMD silage sample results which was cut on 29th May


Five cull cows were slaughtered on 22nd September and another one on 5th October. They averaged 360kg carcass weight off grass and graded R-4- on average, making €1505 per head.

On 5th October 3 bullocks were sold through the mart. They averaged 480kg live weight and made €1445 (€3.01/kg). Five heifers were sold on the same day that averaged 500kg and made €1342 (€2.68/kg).

The bulls were weighed on 28th October and averaged 409kg. They are 29kg lighter than last year but considering the weather conditions over summer Ruairi is happy with them and they are on target to reach 500kg at 12 months of age.

Housed bull weanlings

Figure 3: The bulls after weaning