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Trevor Boland July/August Update 2023

Animal Performance

Animal Performance

  • Management of the Autumn calving herd – Trevor’s 10 Tips
  • Earlier feeding of the early maturing heifers
  • Weanlings bulls- target sale date at the end of July


  • Rain at last ! grass growth recovers
  • 6 CH forward store heifers sold to reduce grass demand
  • Second cut silage will be cut in July


Trevor will start  calving  his continental cows from August to October. The aim is to calve all cows outside,  starting on August 1st  with 100% calved by  end of October.   Preparation is key and starts in early summer with Trevor following a 10 point plan

1. Maintaining the correct Body Condition

Having cows at the correct body condition score leading up to calving critical is critical . Cows that are over-fat have an increased risk of difficult calvings due to fat deposits in the birth canal and reducing the size of the pelvic canal.

As the dry cows are on grass for the summer , they can easily become too fat . Trevor manages the grazing carefully. The cows are grazed very tightly on  low grass covers (av 600-700kgsDM/ha) on  a rotational basis. The group will spend 2 days in each of the 14 paddocks allocated to the herd.  The target body condition score is 3- a “fit” condition. 

Picture 1: Cows kept on low covers of grass


2. Mastitis

Keeping mastitis at bay is also a challenge. There is no one solution that give the best results. Trevor uses a combination of products . A pour on like spot-on is used on a regular basis and in early June, garlic licks are put on with the cows from June onwards.  In addition, Trevor uses Stockholm tar as a deterrent against flies.  There is some extra work as the tar has to be applied on a weekly basis. Also the block of land is quiet open with no dense hedging or trees which make ideal habitats for flies and insects.

Picuture 2: Garlic licks 

3. Pre calving Mineral


Even though the cows are on grass, Trevor boluses the cows in July that’s contains copper, iodine, selenium and cobalt. The bolus is slow release which will cover the cows for both calving and breeding.

4. Observation

The cows are on a block of land surrounding Trevor's house. Near the point of calving the cow is moved to the paddocks adjacent to the house and yard. As the day is long, Trevor can easily check early in the morning, evening  and late at night

5. Heifer Calving Management

The 7 heifers calving for the first time are the group that potentially will need some assistance at calving. As a result, Trevor houses this group a couple of weeks before calving in August . As well has having excellent calving facilities on hand, he can also observe them using the camera. Post calving, the young mother and calf can bond in a pen. The heifers are let out as soon as possible post-calving

6. Calving Outside - Safety First

Cows calving outside can have more protective instincts and care is taken when attending to the new born calf. No strangers, children, or people with reduced mobility are allowed near cows with new born calves.  Cows behaviour is monitored and recorded every year, and if safe to do so, the calf is tagged in the field, keeping the calf between the cow and Trevor.  An escape route is always close by due to the small size of the paddocks. If a cow is showing protective instincts, the cow and calf are brought to the yard to tag.  Yearly records can help identify difficult cows, but overall safety around cow and calf is always borne in mind. 

7. Post calving management 

The cow and calf are allowed to bond and Trevor ensures that the calf is sucking . The cow is kept on the low covers for another  week as she will have plenty of milk for a week old calf . The land around the yard will have a bank of good quality grass for the cows and calves . The land used for second cut silage will have been fertilised and closed until grazing in August. After a week post calving the cow and calf are moved to that block.

8. Tetany Risk

The downside of grazing lush grass is that tetany becomes a bigger risk especially in late September and early October when the weather becomes variable. Cows are supplemented with magnesium lick buckets and watched carefully during this time.

9. Calf Vaccination

In recent years , Trevor has been vaccinating the calves at of age 1 week old  with Bovilis Bovipast RSP. This helps to protect the calf against bovine respiratory diseases caused by Paraininfluenza – 3 virus, bovine respiratory syncytical virus and mannheimia.

10. Calving Aids

Trevor will ensure that he has all the calving aids stocked up in July in case any cows calf earlier than expected. Essentials like, gloves, lubricant, naval dips, and ropes will be checked and purchased where necessary. Last year only 2 cows needed assistance but proper preparation is key to a stress-free calving period for both animal and fermer.

Reducing the age of Slaughter of the Herefords & Angus

The target is to slaughter the Hereford and Angus heifers in October at a target weight of 500kgs at 20-22 months of age . In the past, heifers that were close to finishing were housed in late September and meal  plus silage fed for a couple of weeks until slaughter. Trevor feels that this transition from grass to indoor deeding  affected performance in a negative way. Also, the heifers took up some pens in the shed that were needed for the suckler cows.

This year, Trevor has decided to target earlier slaughtering by  meal feed at grass, starting in August .The aim is to  finish in 6-8 weeks and avoid, slaughtering off grass and avoid  housing the majority of the heifers .

The weanlings bulls are a priority group on the farm  and will be sold off-farm at the end of July. They are currently getting 3 kgs of meal on grass. The target sale weight is 450kgs+



Grass growth has started to increase again after the dry spell at the beginning to June and the days ahead figure is increasing.  Second cut silage is on course for cutting at the end of July and demand for grass will be reduced by the sale of forward store heifers and year old bulls.  Paddocks that were cut for silage in June are also coming back into the rotation.

Fertiliser has also been applied to the grazing ground in June where farm cover was low.  Cloverboost has been applied to the clover swards and 2 bags of 18.6.12 was applied to areas where surplus bales was removed .  By cleaning off paddocks through grazing and removing surpluses in June, the quality of grass for the second half of the grazing season should be good quality to supply the cows as they calve and keep growing stock on target.

Trevor has no plans to apply additional fertiliser in July and August.