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Newford Notes - Week of 13th December 2021

Michael Fagan, Teagasc Technician of Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm in Athenry wishes all the farming community and everybody who has supported the farm A Very Happy Christmas and a safe New Year in 2022. He brings us the last Newford update for 2021 summing up the activities on farm recently

Main photo above is of the replacement heifers after getting their tails and backs clipped.

Suckler Cows

The last of the cows were housed on the 5th of November with the positive backend allowing cows to remain outdoors for over a month longer than the norm. All cows were body condition scored at housing in mid- November.

  • The average weight of all the cows at housing was 647 kg and the herd’s average body condition score was 3.02.
  • After scoring all cows were selected and penned according to their score.
  • Nine cows with a low body condition score are receiving 2 kg of soya hulls per day. This will help those cows to build up body condition prior to calving next spring. This level of feeding will be monitored weekly and cease once cows have sufficiently regained condition.
  • Body condition scoring of the cows at this time of the year has proven to be very successful and a critical point in farm management over the last five years underpinning ease of calving and subsequently positive breeding performance.
  • As of 1st December all cows are receiving 100g of pre-calving minerals per day on the top of the silage each morning. 
  • All the cows have had their tails and back clipped and in the coming days they will be treated for liver fluke and lice.
  • The 18 in-calf heifers will also be treated for fluke and lice.

A breakdown of herd weight and body condition is detailed below;

Beef Bullocks

On a negative note, the farm had its first TB herd test since identifying a TB-positive bullock two months ago and unfortunately another animal was positive on the test day. The 2021-born bullock has been valued by the Dept. of Agriculture last week and has been moved off the farm since.

The remaining 22 beef bullocks born in 2020 were receiving 7 kg of concentrates along with ad-lib silage.

  • The bullocks' average weight on the 8th of December was recorded at 637 kg.
  • They were housed on the 20th of October (49 days ago) and their average daily gain from housing was 1.47 kg.
  • Feeding for the bullocks was split with 3.5 kg of a high-energy 12% protein content coarse ration offered in the morning and another 3.5 kg in the evening.

All the beef bullocks and heifers had their tails and back clipped. This help animals to regulate temperature easier with temperatures currently relatively high. It also helps to keep the animals cleaner and helps to avoid hide contamination at slaughter.

Beef Heifers 

The remaining three heifers of the 2020 heifer calf crop were receiving 6 kg of concentrates along with ad lib silage.

  • The average weight of the three heifers was 605 kg on the 8th of December.
  • Feeding for the three heifers 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.

Last sales: Newford drafted the last of these animals 2020-born (22 bullocks and 3 heifers) for the factory on Friday the 17th December. Four cull cows were also drafted.  A full detailed report of the break down for this cattle group will be in the next set of notes

Housing of weanlings

The female weanlings ( 40) were housed on the 7th of December at an average weight of 377 kg

  • Their average daily gain (ADG) from birth was 1.18 kg liveweight.
  • The heifer weanlings achieved an ADG from weaning (13th Sept) to housing (84 days) of 0.93 kg per day.
  • Newford Farm is considering finishing these heifers next June at a target of 16 months of age.
  • The plan is to get them back out to grass as soon as possible and we are aiming weather permitting to turn out these heifers from 1st of February 2022.

All 2021-born cattle (male and females) are receiving 2 kg of a high-energy, 18% protein ration and good-quality silage offered ad lib. There are no health issues to report.

The male weanlings were housed on the 18th of November at 364 Kg and were weighed again on the 13th December (25 days later) at an average weight of 374 kg and achieved an average daily gain from birth of 1.15 Kg per day.


The below table shows the housing weights of all weanlings;

Replacement heifers

  • The replacement heifers had their tails and backs clipped.
  • Their target weight is 340 kg for breeding at the end of April 2022
  • On the 29th of November they weighed 248kg live so they are well on target at the moment to meet April breeding targets.
  • They are receiving 2 kg of a high energy, 18% protein coarse ration per day.


All animals on the farm have had their back and tail clipped

Newford Farm latest video

Title: Newford Farm drafts the first of its Beef Bullocks for 2021 (watch below)

More information on the Newford Herd can be found here