William Kingston May Update
Measure grass and check targets
- Target an average farm cover of 700-800 kg DM/ha
- Take out paddocks if >16 days of grass ahead
- Resize paddocks of stock are spending more than 3 days/paddock
Continue to slaughter cattle as they come fit
- Handle cattle to assess fat cover
- Weigh cattle to check weight and to calculate KO%
- Use slaughter data when picking bulls for breeding
Selecting AI bulls for breeding
- Decide if you want terminal or replacement progeny
- For terminal progeny, select 5 star bulls on the terminal index
- Select terminal bulls with a carcass conformation over 2 and carcass weight over 20 kg where replacements are not desired
William and Mark measured grass on the farm on 1st May. There was an average farm cover of 960 kg DM/ha, with a growth rate of 41 kg DM/ha since the previous over on 24th April and a demand of 42 kg DM/ha. There were 23 days of grass ahead on the farm.
The grazing targets at this time of the year is to have an average farm cover of 700-800 kg DM/ha and 12-14 days ahead. Corrective action is advised if the days ahead are over 16 days, so William and Mark will be taking out paddocks for silage in the coming weeks. As the land is quite hilly and stoney in parts, they are limited as to what paddocks can be cut for silage and will have to choose these carefully. As two paddocks on the farm are already closed for silage they can be cut at the same time, which is planned for mid to late May.
William and Mark began measuring grass on the farm in mid-March and have been routinely measured every 1-2 weeks since then. They have recorded that just under 1.5 tonnes of grass dry matter/ha has been grown on the farm between mid-March to the end of April this year, ranging from 0.9 to 1.8 t DM/ha in different paddocks.
The paddock sizes on the farm are about 1ha on average. There are two groups of stock grazing there – the autumn calving cows with heifer calves and the autumn calvers with bull calves. The largest group consists of 3 yearling heifers (~450kg), 18 suckler cows (~700kg) and 18 calves (~300kg). The ideal paddock size for these cattle to get 3 days of grazing at a pre-grazing yield of 1400 kg DM/ha is 0.85ha. William and Mark are very diligent about moving stock along quickly and allocate grass to the grazing groups on a daily basis by using temporary fencing, which amounts to around 4 divisions per paddock. This protects the grass re-growths and allows grass to recover quickly. It also helps the Kingstons to avoid poaching of land during bad weather and keeps fresh grass ahead of the cattle at all times.
Two heifers were slaughtered on 25th April. One LMX heifer was 19 months of age and killed out at U+4- with 358kg carcass weight, making €1876. The other heifer was a SHX and was 18 months of age. She killed out at R=4= at 309kg and made €1545.
William will be breeding his spring calving cows (2) on their next cycle. As he plans to change to a fully autumn calving herd in the future he will be breeding the cows to a terminal bull as he will not be keeping replacements from them. He has selected the bull LM5608 that has a terminal index of €134. The beef cow calving difficulty is 7.3%, the carcass weight is 25.2kg and the carcass conformation is 2.99 which should result in good quality offspring for finishing either as males under 16 months of age or as a heifer under 24 months of age.