Breeding on dam side stuck in the Dark Ages
Published 10/05/2011 | 05:00
Ground conditions have become extremely dry and hard and, at the time of writing, we have just had our first rain for several weeks.
Coupled with a harsh wind, the dry spell has slowed up grass growth and the recovery of paddocks. Even so, we took a few paddocks out of the rotation this past week as ungrazed paddocks had become quite strong and I would still be confident that we have 18-20 days' grazing in front of the cows.
Though ground conditions have been extremely dry we have continued to spread fertiliser, so I would hope that the arrival of rain will quickly see grass growth take off again. The fields that are closed for silage seem to be growing very well so we might have a look at bringing forward our cutting date.
We weighed a batch of bull calves this week to see how they are thriving. There was a spread in weights from 330kg up to 415kg. These calves would always have been in the same batch and would have received the same feed and treatment.
One thing that struck me was the difference in average daily gain between calves out of broadly similar cows.
These figures show that there is a difference of 0.3kg/day average gain since birth between the top performers and the bottom performers.
This means that calves with the best weight gain, in the first year of their life, will have put on over 100kg more than others. And, at a weanling price of €2.50/kg, it means that some cows are generating €250 more per annum, with a similar level of inputs.