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Newford Notes - Week of 12th April 2021

Calving on Newford Farm is now complete for 2021 in just 10 weeks. The results are summarised here. Michael Fagan, Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm, Athenry, now turns his attention to breeding starting on 21st April. He gives details on sires selected and maiden heifer breeding

Photo above: Cows will be tail painted yellow for the first round of tail-painting

Calving Summary

Calving on Newford Farm is now completed for 2021 and the results are summarised below;

94 cows were scanned in-calf.

  • Two cows aborted before the calving season started
  • One cow was scanned in calf but subsequently suffered early embryo loss
  • Three late calving cows which have not calved yet will be sold out of the her

This left 88 cows to calve down once the calving season started.

  • The first cow calved on the 26th of January 
  • The Last cow calved on the 4th of April
  • 73 cows out of the 88 in-calf animals had calved within seven weeks (83 %)

The calving season lasted just under 10 weeks

  • There are 84 live calves on the ground with four cases of mortality as follows;
  • One calf died at a week old from a deformity in the small intestine;
  • Two calves were still born, one of which had its umbilical cord break away in the womb;
  • One calf died shortly after birth due to a navel-bladder infection

At this moment in time there are no health issues to report on the farm.

Calving was positive with few problems and much of this success can be attributed to sire selection and management of the cow.

2021 Calves

  • Calves continue to be disbudded as appropriate and are receiving treatment for coccidiosis as they come of age
  • They are also receiving their IBR and clostridial disease vaccination
  • The average weight of all calves born at the moment is 38 kg 
  • Average bull calf ( 47) weight is 39 Kg
  • Average heifer calf ( 41) weight is 36 Kg
  • The average calving score is 3 and a detailed breakdown is listed below

 Breeding Programme

  • The Breeding season will start on Wednesday the 21st of April and details of the programme are as follows;
  • All cows were tail painted last week and heat detection has been recorded in a note book for the last two weeks to monitor breeding activity, which has been positive to date.
  • Cows will be batched into two groups (43 per group) for the breeding season and a teaser bull will run with each group
  • Each teaser bull will be fitted with a chin ball harness for marking the cows
  • The breeding season will last for 10 weeks and  finish on 30th of June
  • 100 % AI will be used on the farm again this year. 
    • 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 displaying standing heat again that evening that same cow will be inseminated again the next day (12 noon)
  • The majority of cows are in an ideal body condition score for 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
  • 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:


Replacement Heifers

Newford Farm has 26 maiden heifers for bulling this year


  • These 26 heifers will be synchronised with the programme as follows;
  • Tuesday 13th April: CIDR’s were inserted to heifers
  • Sunday 18th April: they will receive a shot of estrumate
  • Monday 19thApril: they will received another shot of estrumate and CIDR’s will be removed
  • Wednesday 21st April: the 26 heifers will be artificially inseminated ( Ewdenvale Ivor)



  • Soil temperature on Newford Farm on Monday the 12th of April was 8.8 degrees celcius at 10 cm soil depth
  • A half bag of protected urea (46%) is being spread per acre after each grazing at the moment.
  • All paddocks for first cut pit silage have now been closed on Cones farm (17 ha) and 4 ha has been closed on Tuohy’s farm for first cut bale silage
  • Some of the silage ground received 2,500 gals / acre of slurry and all ground received 80 units of protected urea per acre.

 Grass budgeting as per 8th April 2021 

 * Cover carried out on the 8th of April     

 More information on the Newford Herd can be found here