Michael McManus, research technician on the Derrypatrick herd, at Teagasc Grange gives an update on the herd, grass management and plans for the next few weeks.
Calving has almost finished on the farm and now the focus has turned to breeding and grassland management.
Calving began in Grange on the 14th of February and is still ongoing, with 5 cows left to calf. McManus explains: “We have 100 cows calved and 104 calves at foot all of which are currently at grass.”
“88% of the cows calved in the first 6 weeks, with average calf birth weight so far being 43.6kg. We hope to have the calving finished before the first of May.”
The Teagasc research technician then provided an update on spring turnout and measures that were implemented to facilitate this.
“The first of the cows and calves were turned out on the 23rd of March. All the calves receive an intranasal vaccine for pneumonia at 2 weeks of age and will receive a booster shot at 6 weeks of age. They are also dehorned before being turnout to grass.”
“The yearlings were turned on the 23rd of March. Bullocks weighing 400kg and the heifers averaged 370kg. They are currently getting 24-hour allocations of grass and we will be hoping to achieve an average daily gain of 1kg from these animals at grass.”
Breeding season for the Derrypatrick herd will commence on the first week of May. They plan to use 100% AI once again, using a team of bulls across multiple breeds as part of an ongoing breeding trial within the research facility.
The grass is walked every week to monitor growth on the farm. McManus explains the growth and the demand on grass, revealing that the farm is currently 14 days ahead on growth.
“This week the farm grew 43 kg/DM/Ha, we currently have a demand of 56kg/DM/Ha and an average farm cover of 775kg/DM/ha.”
“Three-quarters of the grazing platform has been grazed to date. We will be starting the second rotation next week.”
“Due to the continued dry weather, we are able to graze paddocks down to 4cm which will improve grass quality in the second rotation.”
Paddocks are receiving half a bag of urea in preparation for the silage season, wit 50% of the farm closed for silage since the end of March. These closed paddocks received 92 units of protected urea and 2 bags of 0-7-30 per acre with an aim to cut silage in mid-May to maximise quality.