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Newford Notes - Week of 10th May 2021


Michael Fagan, Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm, Athenry, gives a detailed update on how the breeding season is progressing on farm. So far 93% of breeding cows have been inseminated in the first 3 weeks of breeding. Tail painting is used and Michael outlines sire criteria here

(Main photo above: Maiden heifers for AI on 21st April)

Breeding programme

 The Breeding season started on Wednesday the 21st of April and 100% AI is being used on the farm again in 2021.

    • There are 83 mature cows and 26 maiden heifers for breeding this year on the farm.
    • Up to Wednesday 12th of May, 77 cows, or 93% of the 83 mature cows put forward for breeding, have been inseminated in the first 3 weeks of breeding.
    • The breeding season will last for 10 weeks and finish on 6th of July.
    • Teaser bulls have been fitted with Moocall heat detection along with a chin ball harness for marking the cows.

Newford

  • Cows have been tail painted yellow for the first round.
  • 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 AI’d again the next day (12 noon).
  • The majority of Newford cows are in an ideal body condition score for breeding. 
  • The 26 maiden heifers (main picture above) were synchronised on the 13th of April and artificially inseminated on the 21st of April.
  • As of 12th of May 9 of these heifers have being inseminated twice
  • Mineral buckets are in all paddocks with cows to prevent grass tetany.
    • Air temperature is low at night time increasing the risk of ground frost

  

Cows have been tail painted yellow for the first round of breeding

Sire Selection Criteria for the Newford Herd

  • 5 Star Terminal Index (within & across)
  • < 8 % calving difficulty for strong mature cows (beef cow)
  • < 5.8 % calving difficulty for young cows (beef cow)
  • 70 % reliability on the calving difficulty index
  • 2.25 score on Conformation
  • < 5.8 % for 1st calvers (beef heifer): 80 % reliability
  • 35 Kg predicted carcase weight for mature cows
  • 25 Kg predicted carcase weight for young cows and heifers
  • Cost of straws less than €18

Sires which will be used on the Newford Herd for 2021 are as follows:

Beef Animals 

  • All the beef animals have being weighed with bullocks weighed on 16th of April and heifers on 28th
    • The average weight of the 39 bullocks was 447 Kg
    • The average weight of the top 20 bullocks was 480 Kg
      • Note: The bullocks were rehoused twice during turnout which hampered early season performance.
    • The average weight of the 56 heifers was 444 Kg
    • The top 24 heifers averaged 480 Kg
    • The weighing performance summary is outlined below;

Grassland

  • Soil temperature on Newford Farm on Monday the 9th of May was 12.4 degrees Celcius at 10 cm soil depth
  • Newford farm had almost an inch of rain between last Saturday and Sunday (8th and 9th of May)
  • A half bag of protected urea (38N + S) is being spread per acre after each grazing at the moment.
  • While the weather is cold and growth is slow, we can expect a sudden burst of growth shortly, so the farm needs to be prepared for this. Therefore a paddock with a heavy grass cover (2,000 Kg/DM ) was taken out of the grazing rotation as surplus grass this week,
    • The farm is aiming to keep the grass cover at roughly 650 Kg DM / Ha at this moment and time.
  • The aim is to keep turning stock into grass covers of roughly 1,250 to 1,400 Kg /DM /Ha
  • Six acres on the home farm was recently reseeded. These two paddocks have being sown with the grass variety Abergain and Aberchoice with clover (Buddy).
    • Sowing rate : 12 ½ Kg of grass seed per acre and 1 ½ Kg per acre of clover seed
    • It was followed by three bags of 10-10-20 per acre
  • All paddocks for first cut pit silage have been closed since 12th of April on Cones farm (17 Ha) while 5 ha has been closed on Tuohy’s farm for first cut bale silage.

Table below: Grass Cover carried out on the 12th May 2021

 More information on the Newford Herd can be found here