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89% of herd bred in the first three weeks at Newford

89% of herd bred in the first three weeks at Newford

Michael Fagan provides an update on breeding from Newford, where the policy of using 100% AI is being continued into 2024.

The breeding season started on April 22 and 89% of the herd put forward for breeding were inseminated in the first three weeks. This rose to 70 cows or 93% of the herd on May 16. The majority of Newford cows are in an ideal body condition score for breeding. Six of the early-calving cows which had not cycled received veterinary treatment; two cows received metricure and PRIDs were used in four to encourage cycling.

The breeding season will last for 10 weeks and will finish on July 1. To aid heat detection, teaser bulls have been fitted with MooCall heat detection collars and cows have been tagged with an electronic tag. When a cow is in heat, a text message detailing the tag number of the cow in heat will be sent to a nominated mobile phone. Cows have also been tail painted yellow for the first round of breeding. This is being changed to blue for the second breeding cycle.

Once-a-day AI will be used and cows will be inseminated at midday each day. If a cow is inseminated at 12 noon and she is still showing signs of standing heat again that evening, that same cow will be artificially inseminated again the next day at 12 noon.

The 23 maiden heifers are running with a teaser bull (pictured above) also and 21 had been inseminated up to May 18.

Table 1: AI five-star sires selected for 2024 breeding season at Newford

CodeSire nameBreedTerminal IndexCalving difficultyReliabilityCarcass weight
Main herd
LM4366 Gstaad LM €183 1.90% 97% 40
LM4377 Whiskey Infinity LM €164 3.80% 88% 36
CH6271 Whitecliffe Orwell CH €125 5.10% 98% 42
CH8971 Cloonglasna Socks CH €125 4.60% 69% 35
LM8619 Castleview Reece LM €138 4.40% 78% 32
LM9376 Keltic Superfurry LM €145 2.90% 68% 31
Replacement heifers
LM2014 Ewdenvale Ivor LM €144 6.1% 99% 28.3
AU1170 Deerpark Nevin AU €175 4.7% 59% 28.6

Maintaining grass quality

Based on the temperatures recorded at the Athenry Weather Station, soil temperature on Newford Farm on May 16 was 15.9 degrees Celsius at a soil depth of 10cm. Given this and humid weather conditions, a burst of growth was expected. To ensure grass quality is maintained, any paddocks with covers of 1,800-2,000kg DM/ha will be targeted as surpluses. The aim is to keep turning stock into pre-grazing covers of approximately 1,250-1,400kg DM/ha.

The farm aims to keep the average farm cover at roughly 650-700kg DM/ha at this moment in time. To achieve this, 20ac of grass was taken out as bales, and this ground received 1,500 gallons/ac post cutting. On fertiliser applications, 23 units/ac of protected urea is being spread after each grazing.

Additionally, 19ac of stubble ground on the farm was reseeded recently. These paddocks have been sown with the following varieties of grass seed and clover: Abergain (2.80kg); Aberchoice (2.40kg); Ballintoy (2.60kg); Ballyvoy (2.20kg); Buddy white clover (1kg); and Aberswan white clover (1kg). Two bags of 10-10-20 were applied per acre post sowing, plus 2,500 gallons/ac of cattle slurry pre sowing.

This article was first published as part of the Newford newsletter. More information on Newford is available here.