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Newford Notes - Week of 25th January 2021

Calving has commenced at Newford Farm. Michael Fagan,Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm in Athenry, gives an update on progress, highlights the hygiene & disinfection practices on the farm and labour-saving calving tips. Yearling performance is also profiled and LESS was practiced

Calving commences


  • The first calf has been born on Newford Farm for 2021. The bull calf (Laurel LM 4185) arrived 2 weeks earlier on the 26th of January and needed vet assistance but both calf and mother are doing fine.
  • As of Thursday evening (28th of January) there has been another 2 births on the farm and all 3 calves and their mothers are doing fine
  • All the calving sheds and holding pen have been washed, limed and disinfected. The expecting mothers have been moved into the holding pen since last week
  • All the calving material and equipment has been set up alongside the calving pens
  • Holding shed was washed and limed (see photo below)
  • The first of the cows due to calve have been drafted over to the holding pen (See Main photo above).

  • Slats are being scraped and a thin coat of lime is being spread daily on them (Photo below taken shortly after). The thinking behind this task is that it will reduce the risk of mastitis establishing and also help to keep udders / teats cleaner. 


  • Newford Farm manager Iarlaith Collins is using the “No Feed of Silage Rule” during the day. It works as follows:

 - Cows are restricted from silage from 8am to 4.30pm

 - The cows have access to straw during this time only

 - Iarlaith has found this method very successful and this has contributed to more efficient time management and cut labour requirements during the night

  • An Agricultural student (G.M.I.T/ Mountbellew Agricultural College) has started his 16 weeks work placement on the farm.  

Yearling performance

  • All the male yearlings are receiving 2 kg of a high-energy, 18% crude protein ration and good-quality silage offered ad lib.
  • All the yearling males were weighed on the 20th of January. The average weight for the 39 yearlings was 397 Kgs at 11 months of age. Their “Average Gain From Birth” was 1.09 Kg



  •  The heifer weanlings are on 1.5 Kg of concentrates


  • The weanling heifers were weighed on the 15th of January and weighed 397 Kgs. They gained 62 Kg ADG since housing on 30th of October ( 77 days) 


Grass walk

  • Paddocks have been walked and were identified for the spreading of slurry.
    • 2,500 gals of slurry per acre have been spread on a number of paddocks on the home farm.
    • The slurry was spread by the umbilical method using Low emission slurry spreading (LESS).
    • Paddocks with a low cover of grass received the slurry

2020 Newford Farm performance review

Newford farm 2020 is reviewed in this month’s Teagasc Today’s Farm or click on the link here