Grazing conditions excellent and all yearlings out in Co. Meath

The recent spell of good weather has allowed farmers to make use of the favourable grazing conditions and get stock out to grass.

Teagasc’s dairy calf-to-beef herd in Grange is a complete farm study looking at three different animal genotype groups – a Holstein Friesian group and two Angus groups of low and high carcass conformation and carcass weight on their €urostar figures.

Within the Holstein Friesian group, calves selected are for both high and low-EBI beef sub index. The aim is to look at the genotype effect on the overall profitability of the group along with elements of grassland research and different calf rearing strategies.

Turnout has been achieved in Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath where researcher Nicky Byrne and technician Donall Fahy turned 120 Friesian and Angus yearlings out to pasture in early February.

These yearlings are currently on a grass-only diet grazing paddocks in 48-hour blocks. In terms of fertiliser, 23 units of nitrogen (N) / ac were applied in early February. Another 23 units of N/ac will be spread in early March.

Last autumn, two bags of 0-7-30 were spread per acre. Therefore, the decision was made to wait until the third round of fertiliser to spread 18-6-12 and sulphur (S).

The cattle are split into three groups of 40 – the high index Angus group, the low index Angus group and the Friesian group.

Residuals and regrowth

Since turnout, the yearlings have been achieving excellent residuals. They were turned into low covers first (800-1,000kg of dry matter (DM) / ha) on 24-hour allocations.

However, they have been moved to 48-hour allocations and slightly heavier covers (1,500kg of DM / ha) and the ground conditions have remained excellent.

Yearlings achieving excellent residuals. Image source: Teagasc

Both the cattle grazing and the N applied have stimulated grass to recover growth on the farm and the farm grew 14kg of DM / ha / day last week.

The paddocks are being strip grazed and back fenced on 48-hour grazing blocks. This has lead to: excellent residuals; good regrowth; cattle are conditioned to graze; and better sward quality.

Since turnout:
  • No concentrates have been fed;
  • No silage has been fed;
  • All livestock are healthy;
  • No costs in collecting slurry;
  • Average daily gain (ADG) of livestock has increased;
  • More profit is being generated on the farm.