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Newford Notes - Week of 12th October 2020


Michael Fagan,Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm in Athenry gives a detailed update. The weight, grading and performance of the batch of finished beef heifers is discussed,remaining heifers and weanlings are at grass, bullocks housed and plans for the week ahead are outlined

(Photo above: Weanlings settled back at grass three weeks after weaning)

Finishing Beef Heifers

26 beef heifers, all of which met QPS spec, were sold off grass (no meals) on the 6th of October

  • The average grade for the 26 heifers was R = 3 =
  • Average liveweight was 563 Kg on the 6th of October
  • Carcase average weight was 288 Kg and the kill-out percentage was 51%
  • A base price of €3.65/kg was paid
  • The average sale price was €1,113
  • The 26 heifers were on average 19 months of age
  • They were 197 days at grass from turnout to slaughter
  • No concentrates were fed at grass pre-slaughter

  A sample of heifers and their slaughter performance is detailed below

The remaining 31 heifers are currently receiving 5 kg concentrate supplementation at grass.

  • Their average weight on the 30th Sept was 522 Kg
  • Farm manager Iarlaith Collins has identified seven heifers from this batch and these will be sold early next week along with five cull cows which are also on 5 kg of concentrates.
  • The remaining 24 heifers will stay at grass until weather conditions force housing.

All heifers are receiving concentrates in the yard and this is working well on preventing damage to swards.

The 35 remaining beef bullocks were housed on the 2nd of October

  • They were 194 days at grass from turnout to housing
  • An average daily gain of 0.84 Kg was achieved from turnout on 22nd March to housing on 2nd October
  • They are now receiving 6 Kg concentrates along with ad-lib silage
  • Feeding is split with 3 kg of a high-energy 12% protein content coarse ration offered in the morning and another 3 kg in the evening
  • Iarlaith intends to draft a portion of these bullocks in two weeks’ time
  • The bullocks have had their tail’s and back’s clipped to keep animals cooler with temperatures currently relatively high
  • All the weanlings (96) have settled well back at grass after weaning with no health issues to report
  • Weanling are receiving 2 kg of a high-energy, 18% protein ration fed in troughs at grass
  • A summary is detailed below of the average weaning weights for 2020

Newford Farm produced a video titled “Weaning Suckler’s Stress Free on Newford Farm”. Watch below.

 Key recommendations for this week

  • Watch cows for tetany during these cold nights
  • Keep mineral buckets to weaned cows
  • Identify paddocks and close accordingly
  • Draft heifers for the factory
  • Spread farm yard dung on selected paddocks
  •  Faecal sample the cows for BEEP-S