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Beef Newsletter - February 2023

08 February 2023
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • What to do in February
    For suckler farmers February is about getting as many live, healthy calves as possible on the ground while also planning the grazing season – from letting stock out to deciding on the first fertiliser and slurry applications.
  • Achieving a calf per cow per year
    1. Ensure all cows are on a good pre-calving mineral for at least six weeks pre calving.
    2. Vaccinate cows – draw up a plan with your advisor and vet.
    3. Check all calving equipment is serviced and working properly – calving gates, cameras, calving jack, etc.
    4. Hygiene – clean out all calving pens and group pens.
    5. Do a shopping list and have all supplies on farm at least one week before calving – tags, calving ropes, gloves, stomach tubes, disinfectant, etc.
  • Fertiliser and slurry
    All five conditions below should be met before any fertiliser is applied:
    • soil temperature is consistently above 5.5o Celsius;
    • the tractor and spreader will not damage fields;
    • the forecast is for dry conditions for seven to 10 days;
    • grass is growing at +10kg DM/ha/day – check your area on PastureBase Ireland; and,
    • you are planning to let stock out.
  • Research update - Multi-species swards for beef production
    Edward O’Riordan, Sarah Burke, Paul Crosson and Mark McGee of Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange report on the results of multi-species sward research. In livestock grazing systems perennial ryegrass has predominated as the sown species of choice. With increased fertiliser N costs and a greater environmental awareness, the inclusion of legumes, in particular white clover, in the grassland reseeding mixture has become the standard.