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Farm Update June 2023

A Dry May

After an exceptionally wet April here in Rossenarra, we very quickly turned a corner into a very dry May and June. Now don’t get me wrong; the sunshine is fantastic to see! We had such comfort making silage, the cows and calves are extremely content and the graze outs are excellent. They are getting an extra day grazing in each paddock while the dry matter is so high, and I’m expecting good quality re-growths which means I won’t have to top fields.

Days Ahead

However it also acts as a reminder of how much our grass-based system still needs rain. I am in a fortunate position that the grass is still green and that we got some rain last weekend. I have about 12 days of grass ahead, but would like to see this closer to 16 days for peace of mind. The paddocks that have been grazed so far are very slow to recover and any paddocks that are ready to graze at 1200-1400 kg dry matter per hectare (just under three fistfuls of grass) are crispy and dry to walk through. The out farm is heavier in nature so it is growing back fast enough to feed the store cattle. I’m not feeding out silage to cattle yet, but will possibly have to if the rain doesn’t come. It is forecasted for this weekend though so I’ll await it in hope!

Breeding Season

The breeding season finished on 12th June after 9 weeks, and the stock bulls were separated from the cows and calves. There is an old stone walled garden on the farm so the bulls are safely secured there.  I noticed a few cows repeating around the end of May and into early June that were mainly late calvers, but have seen very little activity since then thankfully. Two rounds of AI were completed with the heifers and I will scan them all around the end of July.

Silage

Silage was cut between 15th and 28th May. It averaged from 8.5 to 10 bales per acre which I was very happy with. After silage was cut, I spread 2,000 gallons/acre of slurry on the fields straight away and topped up with 1 bag of protected urea/acre the following week before the land got too dry. In hindsight I’m delighted that it went out so quickly, as there is no point spreading fertiliser now until after the rain comes which would have delayed the second cut. I have 60 bales of silage and 60 bales of hay left over from last winter, now have a further 235 from first cut and will need to make 135 bales in the second cut which I will manage comfortably.

Finishing Bulls

The last of the finishing bulls left the farm on 1st June. There were 16 slaughtered in total from 3rd April. The average age at slaughter was 14.8 months and they had an average carcass weight of 408kg. They graded U-3- on average. Despite being heavier at housing, the age at slaughter was similar to last year but the carcass weight was 15kg heavier. They made an extra €165/head and ate less ration so the class of 2023 already have a lot to live up to!