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Cathal Moran - Skeoughvosteen, Co. Kilkenny

Teagasc Glanbia Future Farm Focus

Go to: Weekly Updates

  • Cathal is farming 177Ha in Skeoughvosteen, Co. Kilkenny, of which  57 Ha is owned.
  • In 2019, he milked 328 cows with 100 replacement units. The plan is to increse this to 390 cows and near 100 replacement units.
  •  The calving interval is 367 days and the six week calving rate is 93%. 
Overview of Cathal's farm and farming system.

Cathal gives an overview of what steps he is doing to improve the sustainablility and efficiency of his farm which would be beneficial for future generations

Farm Updates





Litres / Cow





Milk solids



Meal Kg

Average Farm

 Cover per LU

Pre grazing
yield kg/Ha

Demand Kg

Growth rate

 November 1st 13.32 5.45 4.31 1.3 116 3 938 292 2700 32 41
 Comment 108mm in eight days last week!! As I was away I got the lads to bring in the cows for a few days but in hindsight they could have stayed out. Average farm cover jumped up due to demand being lowered with the cows in. There is now a group of paddocks with covers around 2500 which I don't like having in November, we will give the ground another few days to dry out and then try finish them out.
October 11th 14.7 5.29 4.24 1.4 132 3 846 264 2200 39 52
Comment Put silage back in as we had been taking advantage of the good weather and grazed a little ahead of the Autumn budget. We are on target to graze 70% by the end of October and to come in fully by mid-November, we adjusted the target up slightly for 31/10 due to the percentage of 66% due in Feb. In calf heifers are due to get there second salmonella vaccine and get freeze branded later this week.
October 4th  16 5.15 4.05 1.53 125 3 959 387 2500 39 38
Comment A big shout out to everyone that was there last Friday, a new KPI for dairying - not a sexy topic but a crucial one to get correct as we move forward. Grass growth remains good as soil temperatures continue to stay above normal. We are now into budgeting out the last rotation -  we plan to graze 66% of the platform by the end of October. 
September 27th  16.5 4.92 3.39 1.46 110 2+3 993 309 2400 42 54
Comment  Farm walk Friday 1st of October at 11am pre-booking essential. Still buffer feeding, cover nearly on target, 6.8% of cows stand not in calf after 11 week's breeding. 
 September 20th  17.1 4.84 3.93 1.5 101 2+3 921 287 2200 42 48
Comment Looks like we are at peak grass cover which is at 150/200 behind target so just a matter of stretching it out from the 1st of October, the aim will be to close mid-November at 700 AFC. We will scan the cows on Weds and the heifers on Thursday. We will start spredding whats gathered up in the lagoons since April later in the week or early next week. 
September 13th  17 4.87 3.83 129 129 3 910 283 2000 42 66
Comment Grass continues to build slowely. We will be doing a milk recording on Thursday this week so the recording should be right before we start to dry off first calves in November. 
September 6th  18.01 4.64 3.82 1.53 112 2 823 256 1700 39 43
Comment Moisture an issue again as growth is slowing down due to lack of it. We would expect a bounce when rain comes this week but how much when the year is moving on. Calves will get a dose later in the week and move to another outside block  where they will stay for the rest of the grazing season. 
August 27th 19.66 4.47 3.62 1.64 88 3.0 621 193 1500 39 54
Comment Going with the last round of nitrogen this week (25 units) Cover is still building but hasn't fully caught up yet, we are 239kgs/lu and should be closer to 280 at this stage, the weather and growth will dictate a lot from now on. Finishing new roadway this week and fencing.
August  19.1 4.51 3.59 1.55 99 4 541 158 1500 27 57
Comment Meal has finally been reduced. We are currently trailing targets for build up of Autumn covers so we have to maintain a higher level of feed than liked. Currently the predication is we will be on target by the first of September (280kgs/dm/lu) at current growth rates (57kgs). We are currently putting in roadways and fencing on an outside block to improve. 
August 10th 20.9 4.24 3.54 1.64 87 6+S 480 140 1350 21 47
Comment Growth has come back but will continue to feed strong for another 5 days. We didnt spread any nitrogen since the first rain as there is usually background nitrogen to be able to avoid spreading for approx ten days after the drought breaks. We will now spread a unit a day for the rotation in a blanket application. 
3rd August  20.2 4.27 3.48 1.57 137 6 384 112 1100 21 31
 Comment 34MM of rain last Thursday night has been a help in breaking the drought. We have moved from a 22 day round to a 29 day round since the rain came and upped meal to fill the gap, this should allow us to build back- up covers quickly as Aug is the start of building Autumn covers even before drought. We will spread .8 to 1 unit of nitrogen an acre approx a week after rain as there should be high mineralisation immediately after the first heavy rain.
27th July  20.5 4.17 3.39 1.55 1100 4.6 418 122 1100 27 22
 Comment The very warm and dry weather has crashed growth here, 22 in the last 7 days. Silage is now up to 6kgs a day and meal stays at four to keep demand at 27kgs dm. Some of the second cut was taken last week and some barley straw gathered up for next Spring.
 19th July 20.5 4.17 3.45 1.55 110 4.0 523 152 1100 41 59
Comment  Growth has picked up nicely after last week rain (59) but unfortunately this week's heat will curtail  it very fast. We will maintain the current level of feed until we see cover per cow go back over 180. Enjoy the weather and farm safe.
July 12th 21.57 4.02 3.63 1.70 158 4.0 427 124 1200 41 42
Comment  We've a total of 35mm of rain in the past week so hopefully growth pushes on again but ground here is very dry.  SCC took a funny jump in the last two collections going from 82 to 158 so we need to follow that up. Milk recording done last week. Bord Bia audit this week.
June 28th  22.66 4.37 3.55 1.8 136 4 409 119 1000 41 43
Comment 2kgs of silage is now in the diet alomg with 4kgs of meal to keep demand down. Rain is in the forecast for next weekend so hopefully this is just short lived. Calves are still on 1.25kgs of meal but should be on grass next week.
June 21st 22.0 4.23 3.60 1.75 148 4.0 372 108 1350 48 48
Comment Unfortunately lack of mosistue is starting to bit - grow back to 48 and the gamble of pushing covers low in the last few weeks is biting. After grass is in the budget now but will be a few weeks before being grazed. Back at maintenance work now for the first time since January. Bulls are in with the cows the last two weeks but we are also using AI.
June 14th 24.0 4.15 3.61 1.90 93 2.0 540 110 1500 74 74
Comment  Grass cover very low but can bring in other ground if needed. Breeding seems to be going well. Blanket spread fertiliser every two weeks, 1 unit of nitrogen per day.
June 8th 24.4 4.24 3.61 1.93 127  2.0 858 120 1600 74 70
Comment Silage moving nicely now should be finished this week. Keeping grass quality correct is key now as growth has exceeded demand the last two weeks. We have floored cover per live stock unit with heifers and taking out paddocks in an effort to keep quality correct but the danger is we could go too low.  
June 1st 25.77 4.15 3.67 2.02 143 2.5 674 137 1600 72 88
Comment Excellent growth now - all about trying to keep quality and pre grazing's correct now. Silage is well under way but forecast is all over the place to get a good run at it.  
May 24th 26.73 4.3 3.67 2.13 124 4 634 151 1500 65 71
Comment Story of the week is the weather - no silage cut yet. Grazing conditions are ok, tough some days but full time grazing, we upped the meal for some of the very wet days to maintain intakes.
May 17th 28.98 4.22 3.69 2.16 105 3 679 161 1500 65 85
Comment Growth has finally kicked in 85gdm last week so keeping quality now begins. Breeding is going very well, 86% of all cows and heifers are now served, cows are on day 15 and heifers are on day 13. We used PG to bring forward cows due to cycle in the 3rd week to the second week and observed heifers for 7 days and then used PG
May 10th 27.4 4.13 3.37 2.16 144 2.6 568 130 1500 60 50
Comment Breeding is going well, on target at the moment. All heifer calves are now weaned vaccinated for IBR and clostridia's. The last of this year's beef calves will leave this week.
May 5th 27 3.86 3.68 2.03 115 3.5 566 137 1600 57 52
Comment Breeding started on the 4.5.21. Last cow calved 2.5.21. We will follow the cows with 1 unit of N (Protected urea) for the next 8 weeks before switching back to blanket spreading. Calves that are weined are continuing to get 1.5kgs of meal for the moment.
April 26th 27 3.9 3.58 2.03 87 3.5 589 154 1200 56 50
Comment A little bit of reseeding was completed this week, just disked and one passed in. We took the oppertunity of rain in the forecast to get some lime out on grazing paddocks. We continue to tail paint topped up for pre breeding checks. (msd 04/05/21) The maiden heifers will come back onto the milking platform later this week.    
April 19th 27 3.92 3.6 2.03 87 3.5 500 140 1200 40 30
Comment The first of the heifer calves are now weaned and will get an IBR and blackleg vaccine this week. Maiden heifers are grazing outside blocks at the moment but will be back home in a fortnight for breeding.
April 12th 21.1 4.04 3.58 2.13 87 3.5 625 172 2500 47 29
Comment All cows now tail painted in preparation for the breeding season which is due to start on 04/05/21. All rubber ware on the milking machine will be changed this week and milking machine serviced. All main crop 1st cut is now closed. This week is squeaky bum time in terms of grass growth - we need to keep AFC over 600 so we will do a second farm cover during the week.
April 6th 27.52 4.18 3.56 2.13 105 3.5 581 200 2000 38 27
Comment Tail painting the cows for breeding checks this week, we are going to use Matt Ryans " Why wait" programme this year. We also have a team of bulls picked out and have used sire advice programme in ICBF to match them to cows. The average EBI of this year's team is €300
March 29th 25.4 4.47 3.34 2.01 141 3.5 727 315 1600 26 9
Comment Slurry (watery) is going out on 22% of MP this week. Nitrogen has been brought up to a total of 60 units of protected urea on the MP ( this is a combination of organic and chemical). Routine paring of any problem cows feet this week. Maiden Heifers are out and well settled.
March 22nd 29.6 4.36 3.4 2.09 106 3.5 727 315 1600 26 9
Comment We will go back at slurry this week, 30% of MP got some 3 weeks ago, we plan on covering another 25% this week. March has been slow and stedy with calving but getting there.  We held off on letting the maiden heifers out until this week. We also started closing some silage ground over the last week - silage for early cutting, only got 60units of nitrogen plus P and K, main cut will get 90 units.
March 15th 26  4.6  3.54  2.12  151  3.5  727  315  1600  21 
Comment We got caught with the weather Friday night and did a bit of harm in the paddock. Full graze outs are difficult at the moment. Cows stayed in Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. We are now over 50% grazed but growth has been a little slow.  
March  8th 26.17  4.95  3.64  2.24  783000  3.5  976  539  1000  21 
Comment We only has 11% grazed on the 28th of Feb but we are now up to 30%. We will continue to go fast as possible for another week and then access the grass situation again. Calving has now slowed down as we transition to beef bulls over the last week  
March 1st  22.6  5.3  3.8  2.05  167000  976  539 1000  17 
Comment  Switched to twice a day milking on 22nd Feb 2021. Slurry has finally started to go out using a trailing shoe. Protected urea with slupher and selenium is being spread on the grazing latform at 40units/acre. Calving has gone very well with 68% calved now. Beef calves are moving nicely at the moment with over 100 gone at this stage.  

Updates from Previous Years 

View 2020 and 2019 updates

Video Update 2020