Autumn beef management tips

October sees the fall of leaves. It’s time to start closing fields, preparing land and livestock for the winter.

Scanning – Scan all cows 35 days after mating has finished. Scanning will verify if cow is in calf and help with the organisation of calving and labour requirements next spring. After scanning, cull all barren cows or heifers, sell them or fatten them for slaughter.

Creep Grazing – This helps break the cow/calf link and ensures a supply of quality grass for weanlings.

Feeding Weanlings – calves to be weaned should be fed in troughs in a creep grazing area, where the amount of meal being fed can be regulated and all calves can be feed and be seen at the same time. Feed at least 1kg per head/day of a 16% Crude Protein ration for 4 weeks pre weaning and 2 weeks post weaning.

Finishing Cattle – Sell cattle as they become fit. For beef cattle that are 30-40kg short of slaughter weight, feed 3 to 4kg head/day of a high energy low protein (12-14% CP) ration at grass for 6 to 8 weeks. Concentrate feeding will increase carcase weight, conformation score and kill out. Under finished cattle could be sold at the mart. Slaughter beef cattle before they are 30 months of age.

By Anthony O’Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Regional Unit

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