Striking the right balance
Eamon Kirk farms eight miles from Dundalk on a mixed enterprise farm of cereals and beef, with some of the grain used for the finishing animals over the winter period.Previously Eamon was rearing 40 Angus calves as steers and bulls. Calves are mainly bought in the south through an agent. Eamon's local Teagasc adviser is Hugh Rooney.
This spring 67 calves were reared on the farm. The first batch of 37 calves was weaned over one month ago and are out on good quality grass.
These calves are receiving a coarse ration of 18pc crude protein, fed morning and evening to ensure that calves are eating in excess of 1kg per day.
Due to some very cold and wet weather during the last couple of weeks these calves were re-housed for a few nights to protect them from the elements. They are now back to grass full-time in a sheltered field close to the yard.
The remaining 30 were weaned over the past three weeks and are still indoors. They will be released outdoors as soon as this cold spell passes. They are also eating over 1kg of ration per day and they have ad-lib access to fresh straw and water.
All calves have been vaccinated for pneumonia with Bovilis Bovipast RSP which is a two-shot programme, spaced four weeks apart. The first shot can be given from two weeks of age and the vaccine protects against RSV and PI3 virus and Pasteurella mannheimia haemolytica.