Grass is key to expansion
Teagasc advisor Gordon Peppard profiles two of the participating farmers in the Green Acres Calf to Beef programme
Conor Greene farms 65 hectares of owned and rented lands in Rathowen, Co Westmeath. The farm is all in the one block. Since taking over the farm, Conor has continued to rear around 70 Friesian bull calves each year.
These bulls are castrated with a burdizzo at six months of age and are then finished as bullocks at 30 months of age. Animals are generally slaughtered from the end of July to October.
Seventy four calves were reared on the farm this spring. These calves were born from the first of February to the middle of April and were all sourced locally from a dairy farmer. These calves were reared on an automatic feeder in two groups.
The calves are at grass now in two separate groups. Each group is receiving one kg of a 16pc protein ration.
The first group of 39 calves were weighed in mid-July and averaged 150 kgs, assuming a birth weight of 45kgs, they have had an average daily gain of 0.66kgs since birth. The older group received an Ivermectin Pour-on after four weeks at grass and both groups were given a Levacide Pour-on, on July 25.
The calves are given access to nice leafy grass with a pre grazing cover of 7 to 8cm or 800 to 1,000 kgs dry matter per ha.
Conor will take dung samples randomly from 10pc of these calves in the next few weeks to see what worm burden is on the calves at present.