Stephen Dowling: Look after those heifers – they’re the future of your enterprise

    If you've any questions relating to the BDGP scheme, email
    Our Farm

    This week saw the last of the ploughing finished. Cows and calves are healthy, while mild weather has created good conditions for grass growth. The idea of spreading urea felt like a good idea but there is still enough silage left to carry us into the spring.

    At this stage, all dung and slurry has been spread, making use of the great ground condition we had in early January.  Sheds were cleaned out and dung was ploughed down on the tillage ground.

    The next fortnight will see the need for fencing to get underway for the release of cows and young calves and other stock out full time. Paddocks that we closed off early last autumn have now grass for grazing.

    As I have walked around paddocks and fields the growth is very visible with the presence of very green grass. Fortunately, we have plenty of shelter for young calves outdoors, facilitating the release of young stock with the risk of poor weather still ahead. The weather forecast this week coming is for rain and that may slow the release of many animals outdoors.    

    Tips This Week

    Dairy farmers, depending on your grazing system I would recommend buffer feeding your cows. Grass this time of year isn’t what it will be in another month’s time. Remember look after the cows and they will look after you. Many cows suffer a negative energy balance after calving which can lead to lameness among other health issues.

    Suckler farmers have not reached peak calving yet but over fat cows will create difficult when calving as the spring moves on. Diet management is essential for reduced veterinary bills. Don’t starve your cows but manage their intake and ensure her previous calf is weaned in a timely manner. Fat cows create problems at calving time.

    Heifers are the future of your dairy and beef enterprise, remember they should be first to be bred in the spring to allow them sufficient time post calving next spring.

    Dúnmasc Genetics News

    AI sales have picked up pace and are now heading for full swing. All beef and dairy catalogues have been posted. If you didn’t receive one please feel free to get in touch. We have added some new bulls to our line up and these aren’t currently available in our catalogue. They should be on our website in the coming weeks.

    Over the coming weeks I will be addressing the issues within the suckler cow sector. For example what can farmers do to become more efficient and what benefits the new Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) scheme brings to farmers?  We will also be looking at the dairy sector and with so many farms in the recent times converting to dairy we will be taking a look at what the real costs are and how best to manage the transition.

    Lastly, as this is a social media outlet, I would welcome people’s opinion. If you would like to have your farm discussed under up coming topics such as the BDGP scheme or you have recently have made the transition to dairy, please get in touch.