Breeding Season is finally upon is. With 17 cows served in the last 2 days we didn’t see the point in delaying any further as it would have been a shame to wait 21 days for those cows to come around again. All heifers have been put on a CIDR program so they will be served on the 30th April and after 10 days of service they will receive scratch cards and will be closely monitored for repeats, which will receive a second round of AI. We think it will be well worth the extra effort, with the group of heifers having such high EBI, it would be a shame to run a stock bull with them early &and miss out on an opportunity of maximising genetic gain.
All cows have been run through Sire Advice for bull selection, we have already started using beef semen on cows not required for breeding replacement heifers. Those early beef calves will command a good price and ensure dairy heifers are only bred from the best cows.
We will monitor submission rates over the coming weeks and will investigate any cow which has not been bred after 21 days. All jersey cows will be bred to sexed jersey semen with extra care being taken to ensure sexed semen is handled properly. Our protocol is: the straw is thawed, loaded and the cow inseminated. It takes a little longer, but it is a must in order to ensure it works.
All heifer calves have now been turned out to grass. They are getting 1kg per head calf nuts per day & we will continue to feed them as it also helps with herding. We have the genotype results back for the heifers, the highest being €339 EBI sired by FR4728, her dam is first lactation. We will go through these in detail discussing where EBI went up and down. Surplus heifer calves will now be selected for sale.
We used the new Mart€xpress feature on the ICBF app to enter a number of calves for a calf sale at Corrin Mart recently (we are a pilot farm for the trial). It is a really simple process using the app and Cork Marts arranged collection of the calves from our farm. A fantastic system and certainly has a place going forward which would easily simplify life for farmers during the busy calving season. All the calves we sent were Hereford calves by Gene Ireland sires.
Grass growth has been superb lately with surplus paddocks being removed for bales, we also have 100 acres closed up for pit silage in late May. Cows are milking really well with protein at 3.56% & fat at 4.12%. We are feeding 12% dairy ration in the parlour, for many years farmers have been feeding too high protein on a grass-based system, we held at a 14% ration all spring dropping to 12% in early April. We must be proactive as farmers in reducing our carbon footprint, reducing protein levels in dairy ration is another tool we can use.
Whilst we had a big charity event planned for 2020, due to public health restrictions we have had to postpone until 2021. However, we have just launched a GoFundMe page supporting both our chosen charities Teac Tom who are a suicide prevention charity and Embrace Farm who support families who have lost someone in a farm accident. As part of the GoFundMe we have gathered some amazing gifts which we plan to surprise health care workers with. Hotel vouchers, Signed Jerseys, One For All vouchers as well as a bouquet of flowers for every health care worker we surprise. We will be selecting health care facilities across the country and we plan to do a 3 day trip around Ireland in July (or as soon as it is deemed safe) surprising health care heroes just to say thank you for the amazing work they have been doing. We will be documenting our trip on social media introducing the fantastic people we get to surprise. Hopefully it will raise some much needed funds for two fantastic charities who currently have many fund raising events cancelled.