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Newford Notes - Week of 11th October 2021

Michael Fagan, Teagasc Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm in Athenry recaps on Newford Farm weaning procedure now that all calves have been weaned and weighed. He discusses the performance of the 23 beef heifers drafted for sale, the beef bullocks and grass situation at present

Newford Weaning

All 2021 progeny have now been weaned .The female weanlings (41) were weaned on the 13th of September and the male weanlings (44) were weaned on the 20th of September.

  • The average weaning date for all weanlings for 2021 is the 16th of September
  • The male weanlings were weaned at 331 kg with an average daily gain (ADG) of 41 kg from birth to weaning.
  • The heifer weanlings were weaned at 300 kg with an ADG of 29 kg from birth to weaning
  • The weanlings are receiving 5 kg of concentrates at grass since weaning
  • A summary table of weights is detailed below;

Recap on Newford weaning procedure

The weaning procedure includes housing weanlings in adjacent penning to their dams. Gates are tied in place so weanlings cannot access cows to suckle. The fact that they still have visual and sensory access to cows helps in reducing stress.


  • While housed weanlings have access to concentrates and silage, while cows are offered straw only to aid in reducing milk yield and drying off.
  • After a separation period of 36 hours, the weanlings are joined back with cows for their last suck. The weanlings are then moved to a straw-bedded shed which is out of sight of cows. They continue to have access to concentrates and silage. 
  • The next priority for the weanlings is to get them back to grass as soon as possible with this practice also helping to lower the risk of any health issues.
  • When the cows are dried off they will be fed silage. Slats are scraped daily and a light layer of lime is spread on top of the slats. This practice has proven to be very successful over the last number of years in helping to reduce the incidence of mastitis.

Weaning efficiency

Newford herd’s average weaning percentage (%) relative to cow weight is shown in the table below.

  • The average weaning % to the dam’s weight for the herd was 53%
  • The average calving date was the 22nd February 2021
  • The average weaning date was 16th September
  • So on average the weanlings were 206 days suckling (birth to weaning)
  • Between the 2nd , 3rd  and 4th calvers they achieved an average weaning percentage of 55% 
  • This increased figure is due to a combination of better selection of our replacement heifers and good management
  • There were no first calvers on Newford farm in 2021


Beef Heifers

To date Newford has 23 out its 56 (41%) beef heifers drafted for sale. On the 24rd of September Newford drafted 18 beef heifers of which all met the Quality Payment System (QPS) spec.

  • The average grade for the 18 heifers was R = 3 =
  • There were seventeen  “ R “ grades and one “ O” grade animal
  • The average liveweight was 572 kg
  • They had a carcass average weight of 291 kg and the kill-out percentage was 51 %
  • The base price was €4.25 / kg. Total price per kg was € 4.45
  • The average sale price was € 1,295
  • The 18 heifers were on average 19 months of age
  • They were 208 days at grass before slaughter achieved an ADG of 0.77 kg or a total of 161 kg liveweight from turnout to slaughter
  • On average each heifer consumed 222 kg of a 12% crude protein ration before slaughter costing € 68 per heifer from the 26th July to slaughter date

Newford farm produced a video based on the drafting and sale of the 18 heifers.

Title: Drafting and Sale of Newford Farm Beef Heifers (watch below)

Beef Bullocks

There are 12 bullocks being fed concentrates at grass. These 12 bullocks were introduced to concentrates on the 2nd of September.

  • The average weight of the 12 bullocks is 676 kg ( 6th October).
  • The average daily gain from turnout 2nd March  for the 12 bullocks is 0.97 kg (218 days)
  • The farm is drafting nine of these bullocks next Monday, the 18th Of October, the farm is targeting a 53% kill out where they should deliver a carcass in excess of 360kg at an average of 20 months of age


  Sire: Fiston       Born; 16th January 2020

  Weight on the 6th October; 654 kg

  ADG from birth; 0.98 Kg

  ADG from turnout on 2nd March (218 days); 0.97 kg


  • A full report will be included next week on the kill out of the nine bullocks along with 15 heifers and the two teaser bulls which will also be drafted next Monday the 18th of October.


Grass performance


* Cover carried out on the 11th October

More information on the Newford Herd can be found here