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Beef Newsletter - August 2022

05 August 2022
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Scanning of suckler cows
    Bulls should have been removed from most spring-calving herds by mid July, with scanning happening four weeks later. This year more than ever it is very important to pick out empty cows and target to sell live or slaughter before the winter begins. Prices for culls are still at a much higher level than in any previous year and winter feed costs in terms of silage, meal and contractor costs for slurry spreading are also at record levels. It makes sense to target an autumn sale for these cows off grass, either for further feeding or finishing.
  • Lime applications
    Lime is the one fertiliser that hasn’t risen much in price this year. Given the cost of fertiliser now, and the likely costs for the year ahead, it is of the utmost importance that any fertiliser applied is working efficiently next year. Applying lime this autumn gives you a better return on your investment. Refer to your most recent set of soil tests and apply as soon as possible.
  • Build grass covers
    For low-stocked farms, grass covers will naturally build once silage cutting ceases, provided stocking rate doesn’t increase dramatically. Second cuts should be wrapped up by early August at the latest, with the last of surplus bales taken by mid August.
    Generally, rotation length should be extended from August 10. The focus of this period is to gradually build pre-grazing herbage mass.
  • Weighing actions
    Calves need to be weighed for the Dairy Beef Calf Programme, with weights uploaded on the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) website within seven days.
    Cows and calves must be weighed also as part of Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme – Sucklers (BEEP-S) obligations.
    Farmers should also take the opportunity to weigh forward stores at grass. Store cattle, particularly heifers and early maturing breeds, may be at the stage of laying down fat at the tail head and could be finished off grass with a small amount of concentrates before housing. This year with concentrate prices likely to be high, this could represent a big saving for the farmer.
  • Dosing and faecal egg testing
    Only treat cattle for stomach worms when you know there is a need to treat them. Taking fresh dung samples from suckler weanlings and getting a faecal egg count (FEC) test done is an ideal way to tell whether or not they need to be treated for stomachs worms. Once you have established that you have a worm burden on your farm, you can then decide on which product to use. Failure to treat worm burdens in either calves or one- to two-year old stock can have a major effect on thrive.