Advice from Teagasc: Four days to apply for BPS

Ensure you return a valid, completed BPS 2017 application form by Monday, May 15, 2017.

Completed applications must be made online or by registered post.

Keep copies of forms, maps, express post receipts, and other documentation sent to the BPS Unit.

All BPS applications must be completed online in 2018.

If you are not applying online already, the suggestion is that you apply online this year and become familiar with it.

Reseeded fields

Spray reseeded fields with a post-emergence spray to control any seedling weeds.

Spray reseeds after grass is at the three-leaf stage, or after five or six weeks.

Carry out a light grazing of new swards with weanlings, sheep etc. This will encourage grass seedlings to tiller out. Delay cutting silage on reseeded ground for 12 months.

Beef

If you have a paddock system in place using one strand of electric wire, it should be possible to raise the wire in one place to allow calves to run ahead and graze fresh grass. This will help their overall weight gain as they get older and begin to eat more grass later in summer.

Calves

You should check cows and calves at least once a day, if not twice. Nights have been cold and this is when calves will get chills and scour.

Calves will get sick very quick (in two or three hours), and will need treatment, but will also respond quickly when treated.

Calves vaccinated against blackleg, redwater and tetanus etc in early April will need a second shot four to six weeks later for full cover.

Bulls

Your bull is half your herd.

Check your bull for signs of ill health, especially his legs and hooves. He must be in good condition before being let out with cows. He should have a strong libido, and a good supply of high sperm count semen.

Observe breeding proceedings, keep a record in a pocket notebook of cow and bull activity.

A lot of cows repeating would indicate a fertility problem with your stock bull.

Calving spread

Aim to have all suckler cows calved in a three-month period (60% in the first month, 80% calved by the end of the second month).

Cull late calvers, replace them with young cows or heifers.

Have definite breeding season start and end dates.

Consider synchronising heat in late calvers, especially if they are good young cows. Consult your vet about this.

Restricted suckling

This can help get late calvers back in heat quicker, once the calves are a month old. Restricting calves to twice-daily suckling will encourage late calvers to return to heat in 10-14 days.

Weight gain

Weanlings/stores need to gain 1.2-1.5 kg/day from grass.

Parasites

It is suggested to faecal sam-ple early born suckler calves for stomach worms and lungworms in late May, and carefully follow the veterinary laboratory recommendations of. Consult your vet on the most suitable veterinary product to use, if it is needed.

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