Weighing and body condition scoring (BCS) of suckler cows in the Newford herd took place on Monday.

The average liveweight of the 77 cows ranging from second to eighth calvers was recorded at 648kg.

As expected, there is significant differences in liveweight depending on age, as can be seen in Table 1.

It should be noted that there were no first calvers brought in to the herd in 2021, which would result in the herd average liveweight figure reducing marginally.

The average weight of second to fourth calvers works out at an average of 626.7kg.

The average weight of fifth to eight calvers or mature cows in the herd is almost 50kg higher at 672kg.

There are a selection of cows weighing excess of this range with the heaviest cows rising to 800kg

It is pretty apparent as such that the average liveweight of mature dry cows in the herd is in the region of 620kg to 700kg.

There are a selection of cows weighing excess of this range with the heaviest cows rising to 800kg. This cohort of cows are mainly fifth calvers and includes some Hereford-cross cows possessing above-average carcase weight figures.

Weight recovery

The liveweight of cows in their working clothes is about 50kg lighter for mature cows, as also demonstrated in the weaning weights recorded by Teagasc’s Michael Fagan in Table 1.

First and second calvers have typically been 70kg to 80kg lighter during the main season in recent years.

The higher than normal grass growth rates experienced this backend and low levels of rainfall have delivered major benefits in allowing cows to gain condition at a low cost. Cows remained outdoors until 5 November, over a month longer than the typical housing date in recent years.

This has reduced the number of cows requiring supplementary feeding indoors to regain condition.

Michael Fagan reports that, at present, there are nine cows receiving 2kg of soya hulls daily. This is half the number of cows receiving preferential feeding than in 2020, with the duration of feeding also likely to be much shorter.

Minerals have been introduced to cows this week and is being offered in powder form spread on top of silage at a rate of 100g daily.

TB issues

The positive performance in recent months has been overshadowed by TB concerns.

The farm held its first test since a TB-positive bullock was identified a couple of months ago and, unfortunately, a 2021-born bullock has been identified with TB.

The animal has been valued by the Department of Agriculture and will be removed from the farm imminently.