Thursday 23 October 2014

Beef - stock are flying through grass at the moment

John Joyce

Published 27/08/2014 | 02:30

Rosemead Karona, owned by Albert and Jennifer De Cogan of Castlemartyr, Co Cork, won the All-Ireland Perpetual Trophy for the third year in succession. Pictured at the presentation are judge Victor Wallace, Garvagh; Mark O'Rourke, Univet Ireland Ltd, sponsor; and John Tait, president, Irish Aberdeen Angus Association.

With a little autumn feel about the weather in the last fortnight and a drop in temperatures I am a bit concerned about grass growth.

Ten days ago it looked like there was loads of grass about. But the sucker cows seem to be a little discontented in the last few days. They are grazing the soft after-grass and lush re-growth after the topper like there is no tomorrow.

So, like it or not, it is time to start building grass for the autumn months.

I introduced 2kgs of meal three weeks ago to the remainder of the 2012 cattle. It includes a batch of heifers and nine bullocks, I am trying to push them to slaughter at, just under 30 months. This will be in six weeks' time.

I have little choice as I am not prepared to lose 20-30c/kg by letting them go overage. This includes the loss of the quality assurance bonus. It is harder to get them to eat more meal on grass at this stage.

I hope it will increase the kill out percentage of these 
Limousin cross cattle and also I find it a great way to encourage cattle out of a field on the final day, whether they will be heading to a factory or mart.

It is easier to stake a bucket of meal rather then spend time running about a field after cattle. It is very disappointing at what has happened to the price of beef in recent months.

Everyone in the industry seems to be blaming each other for the problems but no one seems to be interested in 
tackling the issues.

The stock bull has been withdrawn from the cows in mid-August. With little or no activity in the last few weeks I am hoping for a compact calving next year.

My recordings of the bull's action have showed all bar four cows have been served. These are adult cows and I may have missed recording them when we were busy making silage.

The bull has been put in a field beside the farm yard with a cull cow to keep him company. As he is a young bull he needs to be minded and should regain any weight lost during the breeding season before the winter. I plan to scan all the cows in early October.

The dung from the calving sheds and the other straw 
bedded sheds have been spread in what's possibly the poorest field on the farm.

The dung should help the fertility of the field. The dung was spread lightly and should not affect the grazing of the field for the rest of this year.

Over the past few nights I have been completing the figures for the farm profit monitor for my Teagasc advisor.

Once all the figures are finally collected it will give a clear picture on how the farm preformed for the year of 2013. It was one of the tasks that I picked for the BTAP programme.

I have used the figure of the profit monitor to push the farm further over the last number of years. One of the figures I am most interested in is improving the gross weight or gross value of output sold per hectare.

We have started the grain harvest, with the price of all cereals on the floor I think it is great time for farmers to trade with each other.

At the current price of barley and wheat off the combine, it is a cheap source of feed 
compared to the high price still being charged by some of the mills for compound feeds, even though the inputs of these meal has fallen over the last year.

With more farm-to-farm trading it would cut out more middle men out of the industry.

On the sheep side I am purchasing hogget-ewes at the moment before introducing them to the ram in two weeks' time.

The quality on offer is very good, as most of the poorer quality ewes were probably 
sold in the late spring with the 
high prices paid for sheep at 
the time.

Next week I am looking forward to attending the FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards which is open to both Macra and IFA members. The final will be held in the Westlodge Hotel, Bantry, Co Cork.

John Joyce farms outside Nenagh, Co Tipperary

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