William Kingston June Update
Preparing for autumn calving
- Wean autumn calves gradually to minimise stress
- Set breeding dates for the coming breeding season
- Choose replacement heifers from last year’s calves before autumn calving starts
Finishing animals are now sold
- Cull cows can be slaughtered off grass as they come fit
- Last of under 16 month bulls slaughtered
- Remaining finishing heifers killed at 20.3 months of age
Managing grass and silage
- Record silage yields on PastureBase to see grass growth per paddock
- Spread adequate slurry/fertiliser to meet nutrient requirements for second cut silage
- Continue to walk farm weekly to manage grass
The 2 spring calving cows have been bred back to terminal Limousin bulls; LM3713 and LM5608.
The autumn herd will be starting to calve from 11th July and will calve outside. They will be gradually weaned according to calving date over the coming month by removing a small number of cows from each grazing group. This means that the calves will be left at grass with a group of stock that they are already familiar with, and their grass diet won’t change to reduce stress on them.
The autumn herd are due to start calving on 11th July up until 25th December but William would prefer to calve the herd in August and September. Therefore the breeding start date could be changed to 15th October 2022 (calving from 1st August 2023) and finish on 28th January 2023 (finish calving around 14th November 2023).
However heat detection during shorter days are an issue when William is working off farm. This could be worked in a number of ways:
- Tighten calving spread by breeding from 1st October (calving from 19th July 2023) and finishing on 24th December (finish calving 10th October) to give a 12 week breeding season and calving spread.
- A vasectomised bull could be used for heat detection on the farm with either a chin ball and harness (labour with changing the paint, health & safety) or with a collar and text system (cost).
- An automated heat detection system could be installed on the farm which would text William when a cow/heifer is on heat.
- The breeding stock could be synchronised for breeding and then use fixed time AI for insemination.
- Shorter gestation bulls could be used on the later calving cows.
- Later calving cows could be culled.
- Feed autumn cows well over the winter to increase conception rates to first serve – test silage early and balance with ration.
William has a number of replacement heifers picked out for breeding. They are 5 stars on the replacement index, are good weight for age, are docile and visually have good length, height and good feet, without being too muscly. From William’s Eurostar report they have positive figures for carcass weight and daughter milk, with a negative figure for daughter calving interval.
Two heifers were slaughtered on 17th May. They graded R=4= and R-3+ at 20.3 months, with an average carcass weight of 327kg, making €1700.
One cull cow was slaughtered on 27th May. She was 440kg carcass weight, graded R+4- and made €2200.
The three under 16 month bulls were slaughtered on 10th June. They made an average grade of U=3-, with a carcass weight of 368 kg. They made €2009 on average and were 13.9 months of age.
Grass was measured on both farms on 12th June. The home block had a cover of 864 kg DM/ha, with a growth rate of 23 kg DM/ha since 5th June, demand of 24 kg DM/ha and 36 days of grass ahead.
The out farm had a farm cover of 834 kg DM/ha, with a growth rate of 37 kg DM/ha, a demand of 38 kg DM/ha and 22 days of grass ahead.
Silage was cut on the farm on 28th May and the yields were entered in to PastureBase. On average, the first cut yielded 4.7 t DM/ha. William already has fertiliser and slurry out for the second cut: 2000 gallons of slurry per acre spread by LESS and 2 bags of 24-2.5-10 per acre to meet the crop requirements (80 units N, 10 units P, 60 units K per acre).