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July Sets The Scene For The Backend

23 June 2017
Type Media Article

By Anthony O'Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Regional Unit

Grassland: 

  • Grass Height - With excellent grazing and ground conditions, tightly graze fields/paddocks to ensure good quality grass later in season. Ideal grass height should just be above your ankle (9-10cms) before grazing and grazed very tight to 4-5cms in height.
    Areas of fields with surplus grass can be sectioned off using temporary electric fences, with these areas being mown for baled silage.
  • Nitrogen - Apply 1 bag of CAN/acre to paddocks/fields that have been grazed except on farms with surplus grass. Only spread N when there is light rain forecast. Nitrogen based fertiliser with Sulphur should be considered on dry sandy or light soils. 
  • Topping - Stemmy pastures may require toping in late July. Set topper blades at 5cms or less. Drive in a low gear at high revs. Topping will also help control thistles, nettles and rushes while reducing the risk of summer mastitis in dry sucklers. 
  • Feed Budget - If first cut was light, then complete a feed budget. This will ensure that you have enough silage for the winter. Close up silage ground as soon as possible for second cut silage. Apply slurry and 70 units/acre of Nitrogen spread 7 to 10 days after slurry. 
  • Reseeding -Reseeding grassland will put money in your pocket, no matter what livestock system you are involved in. Reseeded ground will yield more grass, approximately 1 tonne/ha, worth €160/ ha. Plan any intended reseeding of old unproductive swards NOW.  Ensure fields are completely eaten out before tilling. Take a soil sample and have it analysed. 

Beef Cattle:

  • Weight Gain - Keep stock rotated regularly around fields to ensure that cattle meet the target live weight gain of 1kg/head/day.
  • Selling Stock - cattle that are fit for slaughter need to be sold. Cattle should be fit and not fat. Farmers finishing cattle need to be in touch with their factory agents to check prices, demand, age limits, fat scores and weight restrictions.
  • Meal Feeding - Forward beef cattle that are nearly fit (less than 40kg short of slaughter weight and approaching 30 months of age) should be fed 4 to 6kg of a high energy low protein (10-12% CP) ration/head per day for 6 to 8 weeks before slaughter. Introduce concentrates slowly. Concentrate feeding will increase carcase weight and kill out. Under fleshed cattle will face huge deductions in factories, sell these in the mart instead.
  • Bull Withdrawal - Have a definite date for withdrawing of stock bull that will end the breeding season. From then on, ensure stock bull has no contact with weanling heifers or any other female breeding stock present on the farm. 
  • Summer Mastitis - Dry suckler cows are going to be susceptible to summer mastitis from July onwards. Prevention is key. Use dry cow tubes, Stockholm tar or fly repellent or combination of these. Herd cows regularly, stirring them up in order to spot potential problems.  Have cows in well-topped fields and avoid fields that are wet or have FYM heaps or have a lot of tree cover where fly populations are high. 
  • Creep Grazing - This provides fresh clean pasture for grazing and also helps to break cow/calf link. Forward calves for sale in September could start to be fed meal. Calves/weanlings are efficient convertors of meal into live weight gain at a rate of 6:1.
  • Stomach Worms - Spring born calves may need to be treated for stomach worms and Lungworms (Hose) from mid-July. Listen out for coughing in your calves when suddenly moved, if no coughing, there may be no need to dose. Consider taking a dung sample from calves and get it checked out for worms to determine if dosing is needed. Consult your vet about the most appropriate veterinary product to use on your herd. Ensure product used controls both adult worms and larvae.