Herd Tasks: Your weekly farming checklist

Your weekly reminder of the things that should be at the top of your farm to-do list. Published every Monday on the Irish Examiner digital Farming hub.
Herd Tasks: Your weekly farming checklist

Ensure that any concentrates used to finish cattle are high in energy; this year, that will require higher inclusions of maize meal.

Monday, November 20 - Sunday, November 26

All Stock

  • Watch for spoilage/clay in pits and bales. It is very common this year as much silage was made in challenging conditions. Contractors also need to have a look at the setup of their mowers, tedders and rakes!
  • If you haven’t got your silage tested, do so ASAP. Silage quality is very disappointing from what I have tested.
  • Consider clipping the backs of all stock soon after housing. It really helps to reduce stress caused by heat and can aid in reducing the incidence of pneumonia.


  • Group spring calving dry cows according to calving date, it makes it less stressful if you don’t have to keep regrouping as the approach calving.
  • Plan for scour vaccination for early calvers soon.
  • Introduce pre-calver minerals three to four weeks before the first cow's due date.


  • Driving intake in autumn-calvers must be your priority to boost milk and fertility performance.
  • Consistent feeding indoors is the way to achieve this, as AI season for autumn 2024 calving is about to start.
  • Spring-calvers with a few weeks of milking still to do need to be fed accordingly based on available silages. Most silages can’t support much more than maintenance plus 3 or 4 litres.

Growing youngstock

  • Establish your silage quality for these animals and supplement sufficient protein and energy to maintain growth targets. Look at heifer rearing rations instead of lower protein weanling rations.

Beef finishers

  • Ensure that any concentrates used to finish cattle are high in energy; this year, that will require higher inclusions of Maize meal, so it should be high up on the meal label. Maize meal is the number one feed to achieve final fat cover on cattle.

Compiled by Brian Reidy, an independent ruminant nutritionist at Premier Farm Nutrition.

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Karen Walsh

Karen Walsh

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