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Newford Notes - Week of 14th June 2021

Newford Notes - Week of 14th June 2021

Michael Fagan, Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm, Athenry, gives a detailed update for June on how breeding season is progressing on farm. Up to mid-June, all 81 cows were inseminated once. Breeding will finish on 6th July. Recent heifer weights and silage details also included

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 were 83 mature cows and 26 maiden heifers put forward for breeding this year.
      • Since breeding started two cows have been culled out of the breeding cycle due to one cow having a temperament problem and the other cow being too large to fit up the cattle crush.
    • Up to Wednesday 16th of June, all of the 81 cows (100 %) have been inseminated once. Any cow which had not come cycling was handled by the vet and oestrogen was administered.
    • 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.


  •  Tail paint is also being used to aid heat detection.
  • 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 26 maiden heifers (pictured below) were synchronised on the 13th of April and artificially inseminated on the 21st of April.


  • The breeding season for the heifers was for six weeks and finished on the 2nd of June
  • One breeding heifer was treated for meningitis during the breeding season
  • At the end of the six weeks breeding season 14 heifers were inseminated twice
  • Mineral buckets are in all paddocks with cows as a precaution against grass tetany.


All Cows have been tail painted

  • The annual herd TB test took place this week ( 15th June 2021)

Sire selection

The following criteria was used this year when selecting sires 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 % plus reliability on the calving difficulty index
  • 25 score on Conformation
  • < 5.8 % for 1st calvers (beef heifer) with 80 % plus 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 used on the Newford Herd for 2021 are as follows:

Beef Animals

 The bulk of the beef heifers (45)  were weighed on the 9th of June

  • The average weight of the 45 heifers was 489 Kg
  • The average weight of the top 25 heifers was 521 Kg at an average of 15 ½ months of age
    • The heifers achieved an average daily liveweight gain (ADG) of 1.01 Kg since their last weighing on the 28th of April (42 days between weighing)
    • Newford Farm is planning to slaughter a large portion of these heifers from late July onwards without any concentrate supplementation at grass. 


  • Soil temperature on Newford Farm on Monday the 14th of June was 16.8oC at 10 cm soil depth
  • Newford cut its first cut pit silage on Cones farm on 26th May (45 acres) and roughly 6.7 tons per acre was harvested.
  • 2,000 gls per acre of cattle slurry has been spread on Cones farm. The bullocks on Tuohy’s farm will be moved up to this farm due to its better quality of grass when there is sufficient grass cover.
  • On Tuohy’s farm the first cut bale silage was cut on 26th May on 11 acres (yielded six bales per acre)
  • This 11 acres was closed again for second cut round bale silage. It has received 1800 gallons per acre of cattle slurry followed 10 days later by 1 ¼ bags per acre of protected urea (38N + S)
  • A half bag of protected urea (38N + S) per acre is being spread after each grazing at the moment.
  • Grass growth is good at the moment and also due to the fine weather utilisation of grass is excellent
  • Therefore any paddock with a heavy grass cover (2,000 Kg/DM) is been taken out of the grazing rotation as surplus grass.
    • The farm is aiming to keep the grass cover at roughly 650 Kg to 675Kg DM / Ha at this moment in 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

Table below: Grass Cover carried out on the 15thJune 2021

 More information on the Newford Herd can be found here