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Newford Notes

All weaning is now completed on the Newford farm. Michael Fagan, Technician of the Newford Suckler Demonstration Farm in Athenry gives a detailed update. Weanling weights and performance is discussed, silage results are available and he outlines the plans for the weeks ahead.


 All weaning is now completed on Newford. The average weaning date for the 106 weanlings was the 12th September

  • All weanlings were weighed during the weaning period.
    • The male weanlings had an ADG from birth to weaning of 1.39 Kg.
    • The heifer weanlings achieved ADG from birth to weaning of 1.31 Kg.
    • All weanlings are receiving 2Kg of concentrates at grass since weaning.
    • The summary table of weights is listed below.

Recap on Newford weaning procedure

  • The weaning procedure includes housing weanlings in adjacent penning to their dams. Gates are tied in place so weanlings cannot access cows to suckle. The fact that they still have visual and sensory access to cows is helping in reducing stress.
  • While housed weanlings have access to concentrates and silage, while cows are offered straw only to aid in reducing milk yield and drying off.
  • After a separation period of 36 hours, the weanlings are joined back with cows for their last suck. The weanlings are then moved to a straw-bedded shed which is out of sight of cows. They continue to have access to concentrates and silage.
  • The next priority for the weanlings is to get them back to grass as soon as possible with this practice also helping to lower the risk of any health issues.When the cows are dried off they will be fed silage. Slats are scraped daily and a light layer of lime is spread on top of the slats. This practice has proven to be very successful over the last number of years in helping to reduce the incidence of mastitis.

Weaning efficiency

  • Newford herd average weaning percentage (%) relative to cow weight is shown in the table below.
    • The average weaning % to the dam’s weight for the herd was 55%
    • The average calving date was the 20th February
    • The average weaning date was 12th September
    • So on average the weanlings were 205 days suckling (birth to weaning)
    • Between the 1st ,2nd and 3rd  calvers they achieved an average weaning percentage of 61%
    • This increase figure is due to a combination of better selection of our replacement heifers and good management

Finishing Beef Heifers

  • The heavier batch of beef heifers (32) are thriving well at grass and are not receiving any concentrates. Most of these heifers are on target to be finished off grass and will be sold early next week.
  • These 32 heifers were weighed on Wednesday 30th September and recorded an average liveweight of 552 Kg
  •  The lighter heifers (25) are receiving 5 kg of meal and their average weight last Wednesday was 522 Kg. They are receiving concentrates in the yard and this is working well on preventing damage to swards.

Silage Results

Results of the first cut silage of the pit and round bales have come back from Hillsborough AFBI

Key recommendations for this week

  • Monitor cows and calves after weaning
  • Watch cows for mastitis
  • Keep mineral buckets to weaned cows
  • Selected paddocks for closing
  • Monitor grass covers closely and grass budget accordingly
  • Draft heifers for the factory
  • Order faecal samples  packs for the cows ( BEEP-s)

Iarlaith Collins, Manager of Newford Farm features on the Teagasc Beef Edge Podcast.  Listen in here: www.teagasc.ie/thebeefedge to get an update on how this year’s weanlings are performing up to weaning and to get a general update on the farm