By Anthony O'Connor, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Region
Ensure all re-seeding is completed by September 14, because using chemical N or P with the grass seed after this date could incur a penalty under Cross Compliance.
Post-emergence sprays are essential to control docks, redshank and chickweed (at the 2-3 leaf stage, which is normally at about six weeks after sowing).
Walk the reseeded area to check which seedling weeds are present.
If no clover is present, use Nintex, etc. Check the spray label carefully before use.
If clover is present in the new ley, use Legumex DB, Underclear or some other appropriate herbicide.
Lime is the key to unlocking NPK from your soil, making these nutrients available for plant growth.
Consider applying lime this backend, while weather and ground conditions allow.
Lime will encourage growth in the spring by releasing organic and fertiliser N from the soil, encouraging earthworm and microbial activity, releasing soil P for plant growth, etc.
n Aim to prioritise the best grass available towards the most productive stock (calves/weanlings, finishing lambs, beef cattle etc.
n Sward height: grass height should be at 5cm after grazing of paddocks/fields.
Scan all cows/heifers 35 days after mating has finished. Scanning will verify if a 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 or fatten them for slaughter.
n Creep grazing helps to break the cow/calf bond and ensures a supply of quality grass for weanlings.
n Sell cattle as they become fit. For beef cattle that are 30-40kg short of slaughter weight, feed 3-4kg per head per day of a high-energy, low-protein (12-14% CP) ration at grass for 6-8 weeks.
Concentrate feeding will increase carcase weight, conformation score, and the kill out percentage.
Under-finished cattle could be sold at the mart.
Slaughter beef cattle before they are 30 months old.
Farmers finishing cattle need to be in touch with their factory agents to check prices, age limits, fat scores and weight restrictions.
n Avoid replacement heifer buying-in problems and disease. Breed your own replacements.
Aim to have your home-bred heifers well developed and robust at mating time next year (weighing at least 370 to 430kg, depending on heifer breed), while calving down at a minimum age of two years. Select potential replacements now on the basis of dam’s mothering ability, temperament, milk yield, conformation and growth rate. Pay particular attention to documentation such as the HerdPlus and Eurostar Replacement Index of their dams.
Once weaned, these potential replacements should be grazed and fed on their own, away from weanling bulls, stock bulls, castrated male steers.
In the coming weeks, ICBF will do another run of €uro-star evaluations on your herd.
Examine your new BDGP report to see how many cows/heifers are four-star or five-star in the replacement index.
Cows that have performed poorly for you and perhaps have low star values should be considered for culling.
If replacing your stock bull this autumn, follow the requirements of the BDGP 1 Programme.
At least one stock bull on the holding on June 30, 2019, must have been genotyped four-star or five-star on either the Terminal or Replacement index. And this, or a similar four-star or five-star bull, must be retained on the holding until June 30, 2020.
Any replacement heifer or bull purchased should only be bought from a reliable, known source, and the Eurostar ratings known before purchase.
Remember that if you are in the BDGP programme, you need to get a Carbon Navigator completed before October 31, 2017.
Cease applying N and P today, September 14.
Using these chemical nutrients after today could incur a penalty under Cross Compliance.
Ensure all slurry/effluent/soiled water tanks are empty by October 14. Spread any remaining slurry in tanks during September, while weather and ground conditions allow.