Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Shane Keaveney January/February 2024



  • Shane weights the bulls monthly to monitor performance – a few bulls get high temperatures and performance drops slightly as a result
  • The bulls are divided into 2 groups


  • Calving will start in the second week of February – Shane is well prepared !
  • Management of the cows pre-calving


It is very good practice on any farm to weigh stock to track performance but anyone in a bull finishing system should be weighing every 4-6 weeks. Shane has specific targets to meet . The bulls need to be finished at 680-700kgs at under 16 months of age and have a minimum fat class of 2 +. Therefore, the bulls need to be gaining a target of 1.5kgs/day as they head into the finishing period. Shane weighs monthly to find out exactly what weigh gains there making. If they are below target , he can quickly make adjustments to the diet or environment.

Shane had some issues with a virus in the shed and it reflected on the bulls performance. The average daily gains since the last weighing dropped from 1.51kg to 1.26kgs per day. Fortunately, Shane had the bulls vaccinated so the bulls settled back again quickly. The bulls are averaging 454kgs on the 4th of January . Their average birthday is February 19th and Shane is targeting a weight of 500kgs at 12 months of age.

The bulls are 44kgs heavier than last year which will mean a reduced age of slaughter  by 1 month.

Shane has divided the bulls into 2 groups. The heavier group will be put onto ad-lib before the lighter second group. In the past, all of the bulls went onto an ad-lib diet at the same time. This meant a longer finishing time for the lighter bulls . The bulls are straw bedded with a lying space of 4.5sq metres each.

The red clover silage is all used and Shane is now using a high quality silage plus 8 kgs of meal/head/day. This level of meal will be increased with the heavier bulls going onto a full ad-lib diet towards the end of February.


With calving starting at the beginning of February  , Shane and Grainne have been busy preparing. The following is a summary of the actions ;

  1. Feeding a high quality pre calving minerals 6 weeks before calving
  2. Penning cows based on calving date
  3. Cleaning out & disinfecting calving pens in early January
  4. Keeping pens well bedded to maintain good hygiene
  5. Preparing his calving equipment and facilities
    • Checking his calving camera
    • Checking handling facilities are in safe working order
    • Buying calving gloves, powdered colostrum, lube, a stomach tube, naval spray, colour coded calving ropes, feeding bottle etc.
    • Checking that lights are working properly

The herd will calve   in less than  10 weeks . While it is a very busy period having the cows so compactly  means that Shane have give a total focus to the job in hand for those weeks. Depending on weather , Shane will turn the cows calves first to grass once ground conditions allow. There is plenty of shelter on the farm and he will break the cows and calves into small groups of 3 to 4.

Picture 1: Shane has penned his cows according to calving date 

Picture 2: Future Beef Farmers visiting the farm on January 31st, 2024