Irish Examiner - Farming - - FINANCE/BEEF SECTOR -

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Farm­ers who turned out stock early, wher­ever ground con­di­tions al­lowed, are start­ing to run very short on grass. Give pri­or­ity to high pro­duc­ing stock such as fin­ish­ers or suck­ling cows.

Dry cows out­doors can eas­ily be man­aged in a bare pad­dock with straw and a dry cow min­eral bucket. Con­tinue fer­tiliser ap­pli­ca­tion once pad­docks are grazed, in con­junc­tion with slurry ap­pli­ca­tion (if it is pos­si­ble to travel the pad­docks, ob­vi­ously). Start plan­ning for silage. Ear­lier cuts pro­vide bet­ter qual­ity and re­duce con­cen­trate re­quire­ments next win­ter. If aim­ing for an early cut, and you don’t have fer­tiliser out yet, you may need to put out a lit­tle less ni­tro­gen than you usu­ally would.

Check wa­ter troughs reg­u­larly.


Sup­ple­ment suck­led cows at grass with mag­ne­sium, to pre­vent tetany.

Use bucket licks or add mag­ne­sium to wa­ter. Breed­ing will soon start in spring herds. Pre-breed­ing heat de­tec­tions should be recorded to en­sure cows are cy­cling nor­mally, and iden­tify prob­lem non-cy­cling cows that re­quire at­ten­tion. Straw and a dry cow min­eral bucket are ad­e­quate for dry cows in a bare pad­dock.

Wean­lings and stores

Bulling heifers on grass should be of­fered a beef min­eral bucket to pre­pare them for the breed­ing sea­son. Ba­sic el­e­ments such as phos­pho­rous and cal­cium are im­por­tant for frame growth, saliva pro­duc­tion/di­ges­tion.


Feed should be built up grad­u­ally for cat­tle to be fed on grass, for fin­ish in the com­ing months.

Some have started feed­ing ad-lib meal to ad­vanced stores orig­i­nally in­tended for grass, with the in­ten­tion of killing them out of the shed. This re­duces silage us­age, and the ground they were to graze can be cut for silage to re­plen­ish re­serves for the fu­ture. Ad-lib means meal is avail­able all of the time, along with clean wa­ter and long fi­bre. Feed a mix suit­able for ad-lib!

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