Farm Ireland

Thursday 23 November 2017

Discussion groups bogged down in paperwork

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John Joyce

John Joyce

No sooner has one calving season ended than we start preparing for the next one with the start of the breeding season. The bull was introduced to the cows last Tuesday and the plan is to start calving around the middle to the end of February next year.

Both the cows and the bull are in good condition without being over-fat.

I want to try ensure as compact a calving as possible and this is one reason why the cows have been on very good grass for the past number of weeks. I believe that, like the ewes, when the cow is flushed with a higher quality of nutrition such as good quality spring grass she starts to cycle.

The bull himself is fit and in good condition so he can afford to lose weight during the breeding season if needs be.

I will check the cows twice a day and record the breeding activity in the animal events recording notebook from the ICBF. Recording the information can be useful as it helps the scanning man with dates and later on it helps with picking out cows for calving especially as some sucklers don't make over big udders and it can be hard to judge calving dates.

But the most important benefit is that it shows if there are too many repeats, which in itself tells you there is a problem somewhere. By spotting it early in the breeding season the problem might be solved.

As farmers we probably should do a little more recording of our work and activities and this might be as simple as writing it into a note book or diary as we walk the fields.

With excellent grass growth and ideal grazing condition over the last number of weeks, it has been an easy start to the grazing season.

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Grassland weeds don't seem to be as much of a problem as in other years on our farm but I will still use the quad bike and sprayer to spray any bunches of nettles or strong docks around the farm or under any of the electric fences.

I always use Grazon 90 for this job and find it the best on the market for spot spraying. Again the quad bike is handy as you can maybe do a field or two in the evening time or while herding and it is surprising how in a few years the farm can be cleaned up of these noxious weeds.

Also one of the benefits of Grazon 90 is it is safe on grass and doesn't leave a bare burned spot.

Finally I think I have all the paperwork done and sufficient meetings attended for the BTAP ahead of the deadline at the end of May.

I think the Department has taken the good out of the discussion groups by over-complicating the three-year scheme with paperwork and the need for an animal health plan.

All BVD samples from the calf tags have again returned negative again this year and as the cows are not vaccinated for BVD this is always good to see.

TB test

Also we got an all clear result from the annual TB test completed a few weeks ago. These diseases are always a worry and it is good to see the biosecurity measures on the farm working.

On the sheep side of the farm, shearing will be the next job with a few going on their backs already with the sunny days. At this time the lambs will be due their first worm dose also.

I am not feeding any creep feed as there is lots of grass and I am disappointed with the spring lamb prices. We will start to weigh lambs in about two weeks.

John Joyce farms at Carrigahorig, Nenagh, Co Tipperary

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