Herd Tasks: Your weekly farming checklist

Your weekly reminder of the things that should be at the top of your farm to-do list. Published every Monday on Irish Examiner Farming.
Herd Tasks: Your weekly farming checklist

Thermometer in an Alfalfa silage bunker on a dairy farm in Northern Italy.

Monday, October 3 - Sunday, October 9

All Stock

  • Request a Silage analysis for nutrients and minerals if necessary. You will be feeding it soon.
  • 2022 grass silages are testing fairly well, with early first-cut looking very good. Some late first-cuts are, however, disappointing. While many second cuts are too dry and will be hard to manage when being fed out.


  • In autumn-calving herds, make sure to take account of the quality limitations of autumn grass and its current availability to a fresh cow and supplement accordingly.
  • Autumn cows will be far better if in by night from now on. You may not like the idea, but driving intake is impossible with October grass.


  • Continue to supplement suckled cows out at grass with Magnesium. There have been many reports of Tetany as nights have been getting colder. The calcium in lick buckets will also help to prevent milk fever in milkier-type cows.

Growing weanlings and store cattle 

  • Young stock destined for further feeding or breeding on grass alone are not thriving well enough and now need supplementation to maintain performance.
  • 2kg of a good quality weanling ration with grass will be ideal in this scenario and will set them up really well before housing.

Stores and Finishers 

  • Grazed grass dry matter is 13-14% currently, so monitor intakes and supplement where necessary.
  • A 500 kg bullock will need to eat more than 80kg of grass to maintain itself and gain 1kg per day. That intake is very difficult to achieve at those dry matters.

Brian Reidy is an independent ruminant nutritionist at Premier Farm Nutrition.

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