I recently got a text from the Department, saying we can continue to use the yellow EID tags after July 1. A week before, we had got a text to say that they could NOT be used after July 1, which annoyed me.
e have been using EID tags for a few years and had a few left over from last season. It would have seemed wasteful just to throw them in the bin, especially since we have paid for them.
Sense seems to have prevailed. It’s not often that I find myself complimenting the Department but credit where credit is due.
At the time of writing, we are around 30 days out from the first cow calving. So, obviously, all cows are now weaned.
We put all the cows through the cattle crush, and picked out any lame ones, or those with long toes, and put them in a paddock of their own.
There were 29 of them so, last week, we called in John Delaney, our local hoof trimmer, who sorted them out.
He made a note of the tag number of any cows that have chronic foot problems, and they will not be re-bred.
The cows went through the crush again later in the week, to sort them into three groups, by predicted calving date: July, August, and September onwards.
We are well satisfied with the health of the cows, and there is a lovely shine off them.
The July calvers have got their IBR live vaccine, and also their Rotovac Corona shot. Ideally, the Rotovac should be given at least a month before calving, so the later calvers will be done in due course.
All the calves, bulls and heifers have got a shot of Animec, for worms and hoose. Hopefully, that will see them into the autumn.
Last year, though, we had to treat one group of bulls for hoose in August. Their thrive was definitely affected so we will keep a close eye out for any coughing, and will move in to treat them straight away.
The bull calves have almost two months left at pasture before they are put into the shed for finishing, so it is important to keep them healthy, with plenty of nice, fresh grass in front of them.
The supply of fresh grass is becoming a bit of challenge in this area, as we are bordering on drought conditions. We should be OK for a few weeks but after that could be a concern.
Since we have quite a few cows due in the last two weeks of July, we also need to be thinking of building up some grass for them when they calve.
We haven’t spread any fertiliser on pastureland since early May. So we are going to have to grasp that nettle and spread some, when a change comes in the weather. Fields are just too dry to get a worthwhile response.
If we are short of grass when the cows calve, we have round bales of silage and hay that we can use.
A job we need to get stuck into soon is to finish cleaning out the cattle sheds; and power-hose the slats. We will also power-hose the cattle sheds, as we will be tipping grain in them.
It looks like it is going to be an early harvest for the winter barley. It has started to ripen. The crop looks quite promising, so fingers crossed.
I recently attended an excellent event on the suckler beef farm of Jimmy Madigan, near Ballyhale, Co. Kilkenny, organised by the Irish Grassland Association.
I was impressed by the high quality of the pastures and the farm infrastructure, but what really struck me was the sight of hedge after hedge of mature timber.
I’d say these hedges have seen more than a century of change.
In Ireland, the mindset seems to have developed that this kind of habitat is incompatible with commercial farming, but this farm shows that they are not just very happy bedfellows, they actually complement one another.
Robin Talbot farms in Ballacolla, Co Laois, in partnership with his mother Pam and wife Ann
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