Managing grazing has been tricky this year, as weather seems to throw up a new challenge when you think you’ve overcome another. Over the last 10 days, cold north winds have stifled grass growth and dried land far faster than I’d like.

Ground drying too fast wasn’t something I thought I’d be concerned about a month ago.

Fortunately, growth is tipping away, just not at the level you’d expect. A big dent has been put in silage stocks too and, outside of checking cattle, much of the farm work is now moving towards maintenance jobs.

AI will be winding down next week. I’m using less of it this year due to this spring’s weather impacting on grazing but given they were in paddocks close to the yard, I decided to broaden the choice of genetics and use some on the first calvers. As is often the case while they were in those convenient fields, there was very little bulling activity until they moved further away.

What I hadn’t factored in with that is, I had been spoiled with that AI system when it was mainly older cows here. In those cases, with the aid of a reel you’d just bring in the cow, or cows, in question and there’d be little fuss. It’s a different story when the group is dominated by younger stock.

David Cahalane baling silage near the Galley head Lighthouse, Dundeady, Rathbarry, Co Cork.

All the first calvers, the 2023-born stock that aren’t for breeding, make up over 80% of that group. The balance are older culls or pedigree cows and all are smart enough to save themselves the walk to the yard. The downside is they act as a magnet for the younger crew.

I’m not the only farmer who has older cows that always prefer the furthest corner from the gap as their initial option when you’re trying to move them from a paddock that isn’t grazed out.

Even when you get the younger cows moving, they tend to move as one so everyone wants to come in. I got a refresher of this on Monday morning when there was a pair for AI.

After picking the two out along with a few companions I was walking them down towards the lane when I heard the thudding of hooves behind me and the collective of cattle wanted to come in to the yard.

That was fine till they got there and calves went under a gap, followed by one of the cows I needed.

There was no point wasting the AI man’s time when she wasn’t for co-operating. Galloping with the calves was her choice instead of coming into the yard, so she’s now in with the bull along with some of those already bulled.

In their defence, it was youthful exuberance rather than a temperament issue and where the calves went through is a weak point when it comes to bringing in cattle, so I’ll need to look at my options there.

The bull has been with cows on Tommy Moyles' farm for the last two weeks.

While cows are in with the bulls, the clock is ticking on when the bull will be removed from the heifers.

The day that happens will be down to convenience rather than a set date.

They’ll be passing close to the yard next week, so I’ll leave a handful with him and leave the main body of the heifers as a separate group and scan them in July.

That will be a chance to see who stays and who goes ahead of 2025.