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Newford Notes - Week of 16th May 2022

Breeding season began on Wednesday the 20th of April and 100% AI is being used on the farm again in 2022. Michael Fagan Technician at Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm, Athenry outlines breeding details for the farm. He discusses some recent cattle weighings and reseeding with a multispecies mix


  • There are 83 mature cows and 23 maiden heifers for breeding this year on the farm.
  • Up to Thursday 12th of May, 80 cows, or 96% of the 83 mature cows put forward for breeding, have been inseminated in the first three weeks of breeding.
  • Two cows which had not cycled were handled by the vet. One of the cows had a cyst and received treatment while the other cow was fine and has since come in heat.
  • The breeding season will last for 10 weeks and finish on 29th of June.
  • Teaser bulls have been fitted with Moocall heat detection technology along with a chin ball harness for marking the cows
  • The three teaser bulls weighed 406 kg coming on to the farm and were bought (ready to go) costing €1,016 each.


  • Cows have also been tail painted yellow for the first round of breeding. This is being changed to blue for the second breeding cycle.
  • 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 majority of Newford cows are in an ideal body condition score for breeding.
  • The 23 maiden heifers (pictured below) are running with a teaser bull and all of them have been artificially inseminated in the first three weeks of breeding.
  • Tail paint patches are now being used on the heifers as very little tail paint was being rubbed off by the teaser making it more difficult to visually pick up animals in heat. 

The following criteria was used this year when selecting sires for the 2022 breeding season;

  • Rated as 5 Star on Terminal Index (within & across)
  • < 8 % calving difficulty for strong mature beef cows
  • < 5.8 % calving difficulty for young beef cows
  • > 70 % reliability for predicted calving difficulty figure
  • > 1.86 on conformation score
  • > 35 kg predicted carcase weight for mature cows
  • >25 kg predicted carcase weight for young cows
  • < 6 % calving difficulty for first calvers (beef Heifers) with reliability of at least 80%
  • > 25 Kg predicted carcase weight
  • Cost of an AI straw less than €20

Sires which will be used on the Newford Herd for 2022 are as follows:

Beef Animals

All the beef bullocks were weighed on the 11th of May

  • The average weight of the (43) bullocks was 504 kg
  • Their average daily gain since turnout on the 23rd of March to 11th of May (49 days) was 1.03 kg per day. Their turnout weight was 454 kg



Grass walk

  • The soil temperature on Newford Farm on Monday the 16th of May was 16.6 ® degrees at 10 cm soil depth
  • A half bag of protected urea (38N + S) is being spread per acre after each grazing at the moment.
  • While the weather was cold at the start of last week we are expecting a sudden burst of growth after the humid weather at the weekend. The farm needs to be prepared for this to keep on top of grass quality and any paddock with a heavy grass cover (2,000+ Kg/DM) will be taken out of the grazing rotation as surplus grass this week,
    • The farm is aiming to keep the average farm cover at roughly 650 kg DM / Ha at this moment in time.
  • The aim is to keep turning stock in to pre-grazing grass covers of roughly 1,250 to 1,400 Kg DM /Ha
  • Five acres on the farm was recently reseeded. These two paddocks have been sown with a multi species mix containing the following varieties of grass seed, clover and herbs.
    • Ballintoy (5 kg)
    • Drumbo (5 kg)
    • Aberherald (1 kg) clover
    • Aberswan  (1 kg) clover
    • Puna ll Cichorium (1 kg)
    • Tonic Plantain (1kg)
    • Total 14kg seed per acre
    • Costing €92 per 14 kg bag
  • Three bags of 10-10-20 were applied per acre post sowing

More information on the Newford Herd can be found here