Gentle Reminders for the Diary
In order to stay on schedule it is important to plan ahead, particularly if you are participating in the BEEP-S scheme. Mícheál Kelly, B&T Drystock Adviser, Teagasc Galway/Clare, outlines the important dates you need to remember for the coming months.
At the time of writing, grass growth is strong, the weather is good, dust is flying and all is good. However, the year is also flying and there are a couple of dates creeping up on us that we must keep in mind.
September 14th is the last day on which you can spread chemical fertiliser. The annual closed period for chemical fertiliser for our region comes into effect from the 15th of September until the 15th of January 2022. On most farms the final application of fertiliser will have been made but there are still some farms with higher stocking rates trying to build grass covers while conditions are good. It is important to make final fertiliser applications immediately. This deadline only prohibits the spreading of chemical fertilisers containing nitrogen and phosphorus. Farms that are low in Potash (K) can still apply muriate of potash or sulphate of potash to increase their soil indexes after this date. Of course if weather is favourable for lime spreading, this can also continue after September 15th.
October 14th is the last day for spreading slurry as the closed period runs from October 15th until January 15th 2022. Although this date is over a month away, it may be time to get spreading as we are well accustomed to the weather changing in late September and ground conditions becoming unsuitable. Where possible ensure that all tanks are empty before the closed season as we cannot predict the weather next January and although spreading season may open, we might not be able to travel on land to get slurry out.
October 31st is the final day for spreading farmyard manure/dung. The closed period comes into force from November 1st until January 15th 2022. Dung may have been tipped in a field for spreading during the open season but this must be spread by November 1st or you will find yourself in breach of nitrates regulations.
Carbon Navigator forms for BDGP participants must be completed and returned by October 1st to avoid any penalty. Paper copies have been sent out which can be completed and returned in the freepost envelopes provided with the forms, or alternatively the Carbon Navigator can be completed online on the ICBF website.
October 1st is also the last date on which faecal samples for the BEEP-S scheme can be submitted to approved laboratories in order to meet the requirements of the scheme. This was an optional measure and will not apply to all participants but those who chose this option must complete the sampling procedure by this date.
November 1st is the final day on which weights may be submitted as part of the BEEP-S scheme. This is a mandatory measure and it applies to all BEEP-S participants. We are all aware that weights must be submitted within 7 days of weighing the animals but it is important to note that online/electronic weight records i.e. on the ICBF website, ICBF weight recording app, farm software or any third party applications linked to the ICBF database must be submitted by 5:30pm on November 1st. Any weights being submitted by post must be received by ICBF by November 5:30pm on November 1st.
With regard to the meal feeding option selected by some participants of the BEEP-S scheme, there are no set dates on which meal feeding should commence or finish. However, meal must be fed to calves for four weeks before they are weaned and the meal feeding must continue for two weeks after weaning has taken place. In effect the calf must have received meal for six weeks before it can be sold in order to comply with the scheme.
Based on this, if you plan to sell weanlings in late-October, meal feeding must commence almost straight away. Four weeks of meal feeding from now will see us into the second week of October, at which point calves could be weaned, and then we must retain the calves for at least another two weeks of meal feeding before sale in order to comply with the scheme.
Nowadays there are so many dates to remember and these are just a few that spring to mind at this time of year. Planning ahead now might reduce stress over the coming weeks and months.
If you liked this article you might also like BEEP-S and Dairy Beef Calf Programme - What farmers need to do Now! and Should I feed meals to my cattle this autumn?
Teagasc Advisors are regular contibutors of articles here on Teagasc Daily. If you require any help or advice in the area of weaning calves, contact your local Teagasc Advisory Office here: Advisory Regions.