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Beef Newsletter - May 2024

13 May 2024
Type Newsletter

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In this month's edition:

  • Grass
    Spring has finally sprung, and priorities now are to keep quality grass in front of animals and get silage cut. The recommendation was to apply 25-30 units of nitrogen (N) per acre to grazing ground in April as 18-6-12 plus sulphur (S) if you had the allowance on your nutrient management plan, or as protected urea (38% N plus 7% S) if not, and follow with 20 units N per acre every three weeks for May and June.
  • Get your cow back in calf
    The key to any profitable suckler beef farm is having a calf per cow per year. The first part of the equation is now complete – getting a live calf on the ground – and the second part comes now in getting that cow back in calf.
    • Rising plane of nutrition
      Hormones controlling nutrition and fertility are closely linked. The ideal is to have the cow in good BCS (2.75) at calving and then maintain or increase it by getting her to grass (difficult this year) or feeding higher quality silage plus meal. The basic rule is to try and keep a steady or rising plane of nutrition and avoid sudden changes.
    • Heat detection and record keeping are key
      For AI, you need to observe cows three to four times a day to be successful in picking up heats and timing AI. Use heat detection aids such as a vasectomised bull and a chin ball, tail paint, etc.
    • Heifers to calve at 24 months
      Hopefully your maiden heifers have been out at grass the longest, as they need to be 60% of their mature body weight at breeding.
  • Weaning dairy calves
    From a week of age, calves should have been offered straw and concentrate to develop the rumen to eat grass once weaned. When calves are 90kg or so and eating 1.5kg of concentrate for at least three consecutive days, they can be weaned.
  • Health & Safety - Safety in mind at this busy time
    May is a high-risk month. Tasks must be planned with safety in mind. Delayed spring field work combined with silage making and other field operations will bring increased machinery into fields, farmyards and onto public roads.