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William Kingston March/April Update 2023

Calving and breeding review

Calving and breeding review

  • ICBF calving report
  • Scanning results
  • Breeding stats for 2022/2023
April targets

April targets

  • Grass growth rates have exceeded demand
  • Target farm cover of 700 kg DM/ha and 12-14 days ahead
  • Excellent slurry sample results providing P&K for silage crop and means chemical N can be reduced
Latest weights and slaughter perofrmance

Latest weights and slaughter perofrmance

  • Weanlings weighed on 25th March
  • Weights are higher than previous year, mainly attributed to grazing out of the shed over winter
  • Final under 16 month bull slaughter details


Breeding started for the autumn herd on 1st October and finished on 23rd February (21 weeks).43 females were bred, consisting of 36 cows and 7 maiden heifers. Four cows were not in calf on the day of scanning which was 1st April and three cows were scanned with twins. Calving is expected to start on 19th July and finish on 27th December.

26 females held to the first serve which resulted in a conception rate of 60% (target 70%). A further 8 out of 11 females held to the second serve, resulting in a conception rate to second serve of 73%. Three heifers and 16 cows were submitted for breeding in the first 3 weeks of the breeding season.

The 2023 ICBF calving report shows that William started calving 39 autumn calvers on 19th July and finished on 31st December, lasting just over 23 weeks (target <12 weeks). A further 2 cows calved at the end of February, resulting in 40 live calves at 28 days of age. The calving interval for the herd is 379 days and mortality is 2.4%. There were 0.94 calves per cow per year produced and 71% of the heifers calved between 22-26 months of age. The autumn 6 weeks calving spread was 45% (target >60%). Two cows were recycled that moved between the spring and autumn herds; the target is to have none of these.

William's ICBF calving report 2023


Grass is growing well on the farm with the out farm showing an average farm cover of 1014kg DM/ha on 23rd April. Grass grew at a rate of 62 kg DM/ha since the 16th April. Demand on the farm is 48 kg DM/ha and there are 21 days of grass ahead.

The current target is to have a farm cover of approximately 700 kg DM/ha with 14 days of grass ahead. As such, William can afford to take out half of the Black Field (only partially suitable for cutting due to rocky areas) and the field in front of the house A for silage. This would reduce the farm cover to 770 kg DM/ha with 16 days ahead. As re-growths appear to be slow on grazed paddocks, particularly ones grazed at heavier covers, this will give a small buffer for peace of mind. Further paddocks can be taken out in the coming weeks then if necessary.

April grass wedge

The grazing fields on the out farm received 27 units of protected urea and sulphur (38% N + 7% S) per acre in early April, and has since received 1.5 to 2 bags of 18-6-12/acre to build up the soil indexes.

The grazing paddocks on the home farm received 30 units of protected urea (38% N + 7% S) per acre.

Silage ground has been closed up and William aims to cut it before the end of May. It received 2,500 gallons of slurry per acre with the dribble bar. The slurry on the farm was tested and showed 15.6 units of nitrogen, 8.56 units of phosphorus and 41.64 units of potassium. At a rate of 2,500 gallons of slurry per acre, it means that 39 units of nitrogen, 21.4 units of phosphorus and 104 units of potassium was applied to the silage crop. The crop required 80-100 units of nitrogen, 16 units phosphorus and 100 units of potassium to replace nutrient offtakes, so the cattle slurry met the P and K requirements. A further 45 units of nitrogen and 8 units of sulphur will be applied per acre in the form of protected urea (38% N + 7% S).


The autumn born calves were weighed on 25th March. The heifers (15) averaged 282kg and had gained 1.25 kg/day since birth. The bulls (23) averaged 310kg and gained 1.37kg from birth. The bull calves were 20kg heavier than last year’s ones that were weighed a week earlier and the heifers were 30kg heavier. They had access to grass for the first month after housing which appears to have been very beneficial to them.

Autumn born bull

Autumn born bull

All 15 under 16 month bulls on the farm have been slaughtered. Drafting began on 24th November and finished on 9th February. They had an average carcass weight of 386kg, with an average grade of U-3=. They made an average price of €1968.