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William Kingston November/December Update 2023

2023 performance

2023 performance

  • Analysing PBI reports
  • Tonnage of grass grown for 2023 vs. 2022
  • Individual paddock yields for 2023
Balancing winter diets

Balancing winter diets

  • Two silage sample results back
  • Balancing winter diets
  • The silage pit will also be sampled
Under 16 month bulls

Under 16 month bulls

  • Finishing performance of first group of bulls
  • Another pen will be finished before Christmas
  • Final group will go to the factory in the New Year


William was looking over the performance of his grassland for 2023 on the annual tonnage and farm summary reports from PastureBase. The home farm grew an average of 10.8t DM/ha so far this year, which was similar to the 10.977 t DM/ha grown in 2022. 23 grass walks were completed and the paddocks were grazed an average of 3.4 times. It is unsurprising that this is low as silage is mainly cu from the home farm. The average pre grazing yield was 1310 kg DM/ha and the average growth rate for the year was 36 kg DM/ha/day. The fields received 188kg N/ha with 153 kg N/ha of this coming from chemical fertiliser. This was slightly higher than in 2022 where 170kg N/ha was spread, with 150 kg N/ha of this as chemical fertiliser. Peak growth on the farm occurred on 2nd July where 98 kg DM/ha had grown per day.

The out farm grew an average of 7.97 t DM/ha in 2023. This was slightly lower than 2022 where 8.482 t DM/ha was grown. 24 grass walks were completed on the out farm and the average pre grazing yield was 1494 kg DM/ha. The average growth rate was 41 kg DM/ha and peak growth occurred on 14th May when 68 kg DM/ha was grown. An average of 150 kg N/ha was spread (139 kg N/ha chemical) which was higher than the 107 kg N/ha (100 kg N/ha chemical) which was spread in 2022.

William completed a fodder budget and is happy that he has enough silage made to feed all the cattle for the winter. Lime was spread on the out farm this year which he expects will improve the response to organic and chemical fertiliser for next year. The construction of the new slatted house on the out farm will also supply more slurry for the land there.

 The annual tonnage reports show the average yields for each paddock on the farm and this helps William to identify the best and poorer performing paddocks on the farm. These can then be targeted for extra slurry or for reseeding next year. The gravel pit field shows the lowest yield for 2023 but this is where the kale was grown. The next 2 lowest fields are the fields by the bridge which are furthest away from the yard. The yellow colour indicates the silage yield harvested from the fields and the green colour represents the grazing yield.

Paddock yield 2023

Figure 1: Paddock yield for the out farm from PastureBase

Animal Nutrition

Silage samples were taken from baled silage and sent for analysis. The results were as follows;

First cut silage on outfarm

  • 66.9% DMD with 13.32% crude protein at 18.9% dry matter (cut 19th May)
  • 62.9% DMD with 10.25% crude protein at 17.19% dry matter (cut 3rd August)

Second cut silage

William was disappointed with the first cut silage which he expected to be better quality when it was cut so early. The first cut silage in the pit still has to be tested and it is hoped that this will be better quality than the baled silage.

As William has an autumn calving herd, he needs to have good quality silage for all the cattle over winter so his means that a lot of ration has to be fed to balance the diets. The feed recommendations are:

  • Autumn cows: 66.9% DMD silage and 5.5kg/head/day of 16% crude protein ration
  • Store cattle: 66.9% DMD silage and 3kg/head/day of 16% crude protein ration
  • Finishing bulls: 62.9% DMD silage and >10kg/head/day of 12% crude protein ration

Silage sample report

Figure 2: First cut silage sample results (baled silage)

Calves at grass

Figure 3: The autumn born calves have access to grass by day


The first eight bulls were sent to the factory on 16th November. They were 15.4 months of age on average and had an average carcass weight of 401kg. They graded U-3= and averaged €2010 per head.

The next batch of bulls will go the factory before Christmas and that will leave William with one pen of younger bulls that will be finished in the New Year.

Finishing bulls in slatted shed

Figure 4: A pen of the finishing bulls