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Clonakilty Agricultural College Drystock Unit Farm Update - July 2021


David Hallisey, College Lecturer at Teagasc Clonakilty Agricultural College gives an update from the drystock unit for June and July. In the suckler herd, breeding began on the 11th of May, operating an eight week breeding season this year. In the sheep flock, lambs are being weighed weekly.

In the suckler herd, breeding began on the 11th of May, operating an eight week breeding season this year and breeding has now stopped on the farm. Breeding went well with all cows and breeding heifers being served, except for one cow that did not breed. Repeat activity at the moment is very low so they are quite happy with the breeding this year. A Moocall heat detection collar was used this year which was fitted to a vasectomised bull. All breeding was done by AI. The plan is that all cows will be scanned at the end of July this year.

All yearling cattle were weighed at the 29th of June. This comprised of both suckler bred and dairy calf to beef bred animals from 2020. Average liveweight gain since turnout for the suckler bred calves were 0.9 kilos per day and the dairy bred calves were 0.8 kilos per day. The plan for the summer is to finish some of these cattle off of grass and the remainder will be housed in the early Autumn for the finishing period.

In the sheep flock, lambs are being weighed weekly and on average have gained around 2 kilos per day since birth. To date, around 20% of lambs have been drafted for sale. The plan is to take another draft of lambs and all remaining lambs will be weaned off the ewes at that stage. Dung samples have been taken from the lambs to get a faecal egg count done to determine if dosing is required.

The latest grass walk was carried out on the 5th of July with grass growth rates of 22kgs of dry matter per day with a demand of 51kgs of dry matter per day on the farm currently. Average farm cover on the unit stands at 564 kilos of dry matter per hectare. Growth had slowed down a lot due to the dry weather but the unit expects to get a kick in growth after recent rainfall. 10.7 hectares of the drystock unit is currently closed up for second cut silage.

Find out more about the farms at Clonakilty Agricultural College here