Teagasc advice: Important deadlines this month

Lime is the key to unlocking NPK from your soil, making these nutrients available for plant growth.

Consider applying lime this back-end, while weather and ground conditions allow.

Lime encourages growth in the spring, by releasing organic and fertiliser N from the soil, and encourages earthworm and microbial activity, releasing soil P for plant growth etc.

Aim to prioritise the best grass available towards the most productive stock — calves/weanlings, finishing lambs, beef cattle etc.

Grass height should be at 5cm after grazing of paddocks.

Apply one bag of CAN + 5% sulphur per acre on bare fields/after-grass before September 15. This will boost grass growth and build up a reserve of grass for the autumn.

Reseeding

Ensure all reseeding is completed by September 14; using chemical N or P with the grass seed after this date could incur a cross-compliance penalty.

Post-emergence sprays are essential to control docks, redshank and chickweed (at the 2-3 leaf stage, which is normally at about 6 weeks after sowing).

Walk the reseeded area to check which seedling weeds are present.

If clover is present in the new ley, use Legumex DB, Underclear or some other appropriate herbicide.

If no clover is present, use Nintex, etc. Check the spray label carefully before use.

Beef

Scan all cows/heifers 35 days after mating has finished.

Scanning will verify if a cow is in calf, and helps 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 helps break the cow/calf bond and ensures a supply of quality grass for weanlings.

* Weanling Sales: aim to feed at least 2kg/head/day of a 16% crude protein ration for at least six weeks pre-weaning and for two weeks post-weaning, before you sell. 

The best suggested practice is to feed concentrates in open troughs in the creep grazing area, where the amount of meal can be regulated, and where all calves can be fed and be seen at the same time.

Ensure all calves are TB tested and are free of parasites, especially hoose, before weaning.

* Finishing cattle: Sell cattle as they become fit.

For beef cattle that are 30kg-40kg short of slaughter weight, feed 3kg-4kg head/day of a high-energy, low-protein (12-14% crude protein) 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 of age. Farmers finishing cattle need to be in touch with their factory agents to check prices, age limits, fat scores and weight restrictions.

* Replacement heifers: Avoid 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 370kg-430kg, depending on heifer breed), while calving down at a minimum age of two years.

Select potential replacements now, on the basis of the dam’s mothering ability, temperament, milk yield, conformation, and growth rate.

Once weaned, these potential replacements should be grazed and fed on their own, away from weanling bulls, stock bulls, castrated male steers.

* BDGP: in the coming few weeks, ICBF will do another run of Eurostar evaluations on your herd, and genomic results will be included, for the first time.

Take the time to examine your new BDGP report, to see how many cows/heifers are four or five-star for the replacement index.

Cows that have performed poorly for you and which perhaps have low star values should be considered for culling.

If you are considering replacing your stock bull this autumn, bear in mind the BDGP requirements.

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 you should know the Eurostar ratings before purchase.

Remember that if you are in the BDGP programme, you need to get a carbon navigator programme completed before the end of October.

Knowledge Transfer

If participating in the KT scheme, you must attend four KT discussion group meetings, plus one KT-approved event (or 5 KT discussion group meetings) before the July 1, 2017.

Environment

Cease applying N and P on September 14. Using these chemical nutrients after this date could incur a cross compliance penalty.

* Slurry: 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.

* Farm sprayer testing: all farmers and sprayer operators are reminded of the upcoming deadline of November 26, 2016, to test their sprayers.


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