Breeding of the beef suckler herd on the Tullamore demonstration farm has begun in the last week.

Thirty heifers were synchronised, with all heifers submitted for AI on 18 April.

Synchronisation has been used with good success on heifers in the past, so the decision was made to continue with it this year.

Of the 30 heifers, 10 were inseminated with sexed female semen of high maternal index bulls.

Breeding with the suckler cows also began this week, with AI commencing on Monday 22 April.

Traditionally, breeding had begun closer to 1 May, but the addition of the new suckler shed completed in 2022 gives farm manager Shaun Diver a greater deal of flexibility with holding cows indoors if required post-calving, such as in the spring just witnessed.

Detection collars

Herd heat detection collars have been introduced to Tullamore Farm, with the hope being to cut down on labour surrounding heat detection, as well as increasing sexed semen use on the farm.

Traditionally, heat detection is being used while the collars sync up to individual cow’s routines.

Silage ground received three bags/acre of cut sward (24:2.5:10) earlier this week.

Shaun is still aiming for a cutting date close to the end of May. This ground had suffered badly from waterlogging in the past couple of weeks, as it is some of the lower-lying ground on the farm, but recent drier conditions have seen trafficability improve dramatically.

Protein crops and lambs

On the home farm, the protein crop for 2024 has also been sown, with 4.5 acres of peas, oats and barley gone in. The ground was spread with farmyard manure prior to ploughing.

The oldest batch of lambs received an oral drench this week for coccidiosis. The flock experienced significant issues with coccidiosis in 2023 and there were early signs of it starting to emerge.

The remaining batches will receive treatment in the first week of May when other tasks including treatment for nematodirus, clostridial disease vaccination and 40-day weighing will take place.