Farmer Focus: Dropping synch programme on heifers

As of writing this article at the start of April, 108 cows have calved on our farm with 89 being born in the month of March. So far around 50 cows and calves have turned out to the land.

There are 13 cows left to calve which, according to their scanning dates, should all calve in the next fortnight.

A final assessment will be done on how calving went when all cows have calved.

See also:  Read more from our Livestock Farmer Focus writers 

Replacement heifers have all received their BVD and Lepto vaccinations as well as a trace element bolus to try to ensure we have a compact block of successful pregnancies.

This year we will not be using a synchronisation programme on heifers, which is despite achieving a relatively successful 60% pregnancy last year.

When we compared the programme heifers with the heifers that ran with the bull and costed it out, it wasn’t beneficial enough to justify the extra expense and time required for us on our farm.

However, I would like to try and use some AI bulls on our best cows and heifers to try and improve the quality of our replacement heifers.

Serving with AI

It may be an option to group cows together that we want to breed replacements from and serve them once with AI. However, I am very aware of the negative impact this could have on calving interval should I not be able to make it successful.

The spell of good weather has enabled us to get out with the machinery, get our grassland slurried and sowed with fertiliser.

Fertiliser was sowed depending on crop requirement after slurry based on soil analysis taken last year. This year we have used a fertiliser from Goulding that includes a phosphate protector known as Avail.

This product is designed to ensure the phosphate is protected in the ground and does not become locked up in the soil ensuring the plant can get maximum uptake of it. @mbrownlee39

Matthew Brownlee farms 121ha alongside his father in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. They run 100 Limousin cross suckler cows and buy in store cattle to finish.