Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

My low maintenance bulls are en route to Turkey

The six bulls have been sold to an exporter for Turkey.
The six bulls have been sold to an exporter for Turkey.
Gerard Sherlock

Gerard Sherlock

The start of the new school year next week signals the end of the summer but hopefully the beginning of a good autumn.

Over the last month we have had a good deal of rain and sunshine and thankfully we could handle it well.

Grass growth has been slowing down but it has been very steady up to now. Last week my farm cover was 893. I am now stocked at 4.09 LU/ha and the grass cover/LU is 218. Rotation length is now 28 days.

I brought in another 3ha of aftergrass last week and that reduced the stocking rate. This is all the land available to me now as the milking platform takes up 21.74ha. I have started to build up covers for the autumn. I probably will dry off some of the lowest yielders and thinner cows to help build up covers as well.

The 90 milking cows are presently producing 21 litres ast 3.87pc butter fat, 3.40pc protein giving 1.53kg MS/cow/day, TBC 5000, SCC 92, Therm 100 and Lactose 5pc. Cows are getting 4kgs of a 16pc protein nut.

Nitrogen in the form of CAN or urea is being spread at 25 units/acre for the final three weeks. All breeding of cows has stopped since early August.

I reseeded six acres on August 10. It worked out well with a good spell of weather and very few stones. The two fields of three acres each were burned off for two weeks. They were ploughed, disked, power-harrowed, levelled and sowed.

I spread about three tonnes of lime per acre on the ploughed ground and the remainder I spread on the cow paddocks. I only spread 1-1.5t/ac on paddocks that had been grazed off. The lime costs €28/t delivered and spread. I also sowed about four bags per acre of 10-10-20 on the reseed. The grass seed mix contained the varieties abergain, aberchoice, dunluce and drumbo. After the seed was sown I rolled it.

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A few weeks back I had to call the vet for a cow that came into the parlour very sore, irritated and kicking herself. The diagnosis was sunburn or photosensitisation. After some treatment she settled down but a week later she stopped giving milk and was losing flesh rapidly.

On examination the stomach sounded alright but the vet wasn't convinced. He decided to operate and discovered the stomach was displaced. This is very unusual for this time of year and also the cow was back in calf again. After the operation the cow went to the field and began eating grass. Thankfully she is recovering well, but I reckon she won't come back into milk so drying off will be the option.

I sold the six bulls I had to an exporter for Turkey. They were about 15 months of age. Their average weight was 453 kgs at €1.80/kg. I was happy enough with them as they were low maintenance and low cost.

Gerard Sherlock farms in Tydavnet, Co Monaghan

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