Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Ruairi Cummins September/October Update 2023

Prevention is better than cure!

Prevention is better than cure!

  • Weanlings have been dosed to treat for lung worms and stomach worms
  • IBR, RSV, Pi3 & mannheimia booster vaccines have been given
  • Ruairi is trying out the nose paddles for weaning this year
Latest update

Latest update

  • Latest weights for young cattle
  • The cows’ weaning efficiency is 45%
  • Cull cows will be finished off grass
Focusing on soil fertility actions this autumn

Focusing on soil fertility actions this autumn

  • Lime has been spread on the out farm
  • Compounds were spread on lower index fields in August
  • All slurry and FYM has been spread, mainly targeting fields that were cut for silage

Animal Health

The bulls and heifer weanlings were dosed on 13th September with a pour on (Animec) which treated them for gastro intestinal worms, lung worms, mites and lice. They have also been given their bosster vaccinations for IBR (Rispoval) and for RSV, Pi3 and mannheimia (Bovipast) before weaning.

The bulls have been fed ration since early September and the heifers will be fed before weaning too. He is using a portable trough to feed the bulls in a paddock beside the cows, where the weanlings can slip under the wire and continue to creep graze ahead of the cows. To stop cattle scratching off the post and breaking it, Ruairi wraps electric wire around the pole to avoid any issues.

Ruairi has invested in the nose paddles, or anti-suckling devices, for the first time this year and will be weaning the heifers first using them. He will pick out half of the calves and put the nose paddles in their noses. They will be left in for one week and then the dams will be removed from the group. The nose paddles will also be removed at that time and applied to the remaining calves in the group.

Bulls forward creep grazing and eating meal at a trough

Figure 1: Bull calves are being fed ration and continue to forward graze ahead of the cows via a raised wire

Horse pole with wire wrapped around it to prevent cattle from scratching off it

Figure 2: Electric wire is wrapped around the raised pole to avoid cattle scratching off it and breaking it


The 7 dairy beef calves were weighed on 9th September and averaged 231kg. They gained 1.01 kg/day since 27th July and are eating 0.5kg ration/head/day.

The 2023 heifers (21) were weighed on the same day and averaged 307kg, having gained 1.37kg/day since 27th July.

The 2023 bullocks (4) weighed 290kg and gained 1.41kg/day since 27th July. The bulls (16) averaged 358kg and gained 1.76kg/day since 27th July.

According to the ICBF weaning performance report, the weaning efficiency of Ruairi’s cows is 45%. This refers to the calf 200 day weight as a percentage of the cow weight, and the target is over 42% so they are performing well.

The suckler cows that aren’t in calf are in good body condition and will be slaughtered off grass.

Cull cow at grass

Figure 3: One of the cull cows

Another cull cow at grass

Figure 4: Another cull cow

Soil Fertility

Ruairi was accepted into the National liming Programme and was approved to spread 40t of lime on the farm. He purchased 26t which was spread on the out farm by a contractor at a rate of 2t/acre on 21st August. It is expected that this will rise the soil pH from 5.9 to 6.5.

He has also registered with the DAFM for the new fertiliser register.

The final round of fertiliser in August provided an opportunity to build soil indexes on the farm. Cattle slurry was spread at a rate of 2000 gallons/acre on fields that were cut for silage, and FYM was spread on others. Furthermore the reseeded paddocks were given watery slurry.

The out farm in Ballyhall received 1 bag of 12-6-20 + 4S/acre on 25th August. The grazing paddocks on the home farm got 18 units of protected urea/acre on 7th August.