Grass supply remains excellent in almost all parts of the country, however ground conditions have deteriorated drastically in the west over the last week.

Further south, things are still positive with farmers still being able to achieve good graze outs of heavy covers.

Grass allocation is the most important thing to get right at the moment.

Try to move stock to fresh grass at least twice a week. This will help maintain performance and improve clean-outs of paddocks.

On spring-calving suckler farms, weaning has commenced in most cases. Be sure that cows are housed and restricted for five to seven days at weaning time to ensure they are well dried off prior to going back to grass.

On finishing farms, grass dry matter has taken a hit this week and so gains off grass will be poorer at this stage, especially where heavier covers are being grazed.

It may be time to increase the level of meal feeding to stock to maintain performance. Be careful not to feed more than 4kg in any one feed. Where supplementation rates greater than this are required, it needs to be broken into two feeds – morning and evening. Where this is the case you should consider if housing for a short period may be a better option from a labour point of view.

Diarmuid Murray – Knockcroghery, Co Roscommon

Grass growth has slowed over the last week with heavy rainfall really slowing things up. In saying that, there is still lots of grass on farm. Stock are making their way through heavier covers at the moment which is hitting regrowths as well.

I started to close paddocks over the last week. These are the areas of the farm that I hope to get grazed first in spring.

At this stage, there are less than 40 finishing cattle left to be drafted; another 22 are set to go at the end of this week. I am happy with performance so far. The Angus heifers are averaging 245kg carcase weight while the steer steers are up at 290kg so far. The Friesian bullocks are around the 300kg carcase weight so far.

  • System: Dairy calf to beef
  • Soil type: Mostly dry
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 848
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 36
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 32
  • Matthew Murphy – Newford Herd, Athenry

    Grass supply remains good. However, grass dry matter has taken a hit over the last few days. We have started drafting cattle off grass with 18 heifers slaughtered on 23 September at an average liveweight of 572kg which resulted in a carcase weight of 291kg. This is a kill-out percentage of 51%. The heifers all graded R apart from one that graded an O+. In terms of fat score, four were 3+, six 3+, six 3-, one 2= and one 2- and averaged €1,289.

    Of the remaining 33 heifers on farm, 28 are receiving 4kg concentrate daily at grass.

    Eight dairy beef replacement heifers that scanned not in-calf were slaughtered. They had an average carcase weight of 234kg and graded O+3+ on average.

  • System: Suckler to beef
  • Soil type: Mostly dry
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 1,142
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 58
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 51
  • Declan Marren – THRIVE Farm, Co Tipperary

    There is loads of grass still on farm with hopefully another month to six weeks of grazing ahead of the young stock.

    Finishing cattle were weighed this week and liveweight gains have decreased over the last fortnight as expected at this time of the year. Heifers are on 3kg concentrate and the bullocks are on 4kg daily which we are not going to alter yet.

    We may look to house some finishing cattle that are clearly not going to be finished off grass and increase meal feeding to these animals.

    A further eight bullocks and five heifers were drafted for slaughter later this week. The bullocks averaged 602kg while the heifers were 498kg on average at just over 19 months of age.

  • System: Dairy calf to beef
  • Soil type: Mostly dry
  • Farm cover (kg DM/ha): 978
  • Growth (kg DM/ha/day): 32
  • Demand (kg DM/ha/day): 30