While the country, along with the rest of the world, battles Coronavirus farm life continues as it does through every crisis. Protocols have changed on the farm to ensure we protect ourselves but also the health of those directly involved in ensuring the farm continues to operate. There is absolutely no contact with our milk lorry driver or delivery drivers. Gloves, hand washing facilities and paper towels are in place for our milk lorry driver. Only one person is allowed be present to assist our Vet and all non essential visitors to the farm have been stopped.

I know social distancing and isolation can be difficult, but it is vital to protect us all and we can only hope it will speed up the process of normality returning for us all. I have only left the farm to visit the co op in the last few weeks, which in so many ways can be frustrating but it’s so important to stay positive and ill certainly enjoy a little more social life in a few months all going well.

We have managed to keep ourselves entertained on farm; we had a mini Saint Patricks day parade on farm which we videoed for social media to send a little Irishness around the world. Little did we know it would get so much attention, not just here but with news channels in the UK, Germany and the US featuring it. The humbling part was receiving messages from all over the world especially those on lockdown in Italy, Spain and France.

Thankfully good weather has finally arrived, the cows will greatly appreciate having some sunshine on their backs. They seem to be cycling well with plenty of strong heats, which is always peace of mind that they will be ready for breeding in late April. A list of potential cows that need to be Metri -checked (a veterinary procedure to identify cows that have endometritis) has been put together so we will tackle that job this week. We give any dirty cow a Metricure (endometritis treatment) and Prostagladin to ensure they are clean and cycling early.

All our heifer calves have been genotyped; we should have those results back in two weeks’ time. We have had genomic results back from a number of bulls tested, with the majority coming back over €300 EBI, including one bull so far at €365 EBI. We can only assume the heifer calves will test well, as they are of similar genetics. It is something we will discuss in detail once the results come back.

As soon as I finish writing this article, I will finish narrowing down the list for our bull team for 2020. There is another EBI run this week (note last weeks evaluation was not published at the time this article was written) so as soon as those details are available, we will double check bull team and order the semen. Protocols will change for AI techs this spring, but it is essential the breeding season goes ahead.

Maiden heifers are really settled at grass now, they are well on target so are on a grass only diet, as they will easily exceed 330kgs at the point of breeding. We will definitely synchronise them again this year using CIDRs, it’s a huge time saver from a heat detection perspective but also ensures we have a tighter calving pattern.

This week’s plan will be to get more slurry out, a round of 10.10.20 on the grazing platform and we are getting very close now to spreading all silage with fertiliser to ensure we get an early first cut.

Take care of yourselves, I hope you all stay safe and healthy