Grass growth has been phenomenal this past week with virtually ideal conditions all week long. Temperatures have been very mild with plenty of good sunshine as well as regular, short bursts of rain. Growth has been so good that weâre closing off extra paddocks for silage later in the month, as the cattle canât keep pace with the excess growth at the minute.
You can never have enough silage come wintertime so itâs a good position to be in. The cattle are in good order on the back of eating plenty of good quality grass with the calves in particular really starting to kick into high gear and thriving brilliantly. A good start to the summer sets the young calves up for the year and ensures there are no set-backs in the aftermath of weaning. Cows are very content also and itâs a lovely time of year to see all the stock out and about in the fields.
We are continuing to halter-train some of the weanling pedigree beef calves. Three Hereford heifers (who were born last summer) were handled for the first time last week. Two of the three heifer calves will be heading to the Slaney Foods International Hereford calf finals at Gorey show on June 17th. The calves are looking fairly well and are coming along nicely after a few days training.
Itâs a very important show for Hereford breeders, with huge prizemoney and lots of prestigious calf championship titles up for grabs on the day. The competition promises to be exceptionally fierce so weâll have our work cut out to claim any prizes on the day. Competition is vital for the summer show circuit and keeps the whole showing scene fresh and interesting. If one exhibitor or a particular animal dominates the summer then things can get stale and predictable quite quickly. The Hereford breed comes out to the shows in such numbers and with such depth of quality that thereâs always new winners and fresh faces in the championship line-ups.
Itâs a brilliant endorsement for the strength of the breed and it keeps pushing the standard of stock higher and higher. Itâs definitely safe to say that no wins come easily so weâll have to see how it all goes at the Gorey finals for the Kilsunny show team.
Staying with the showing theme, I attended the first ever Pedigree Cattle Breeders of Ireland showing and grooming spectacular at the GVM Arena, Tullamore over the weekend.
The event was the first of its kind to be held in Ireland and each major beef and dairy breed was in attendance on the day. The day consisted of informative talks and interactive presentations in the morning session before switching to hands-on grooming, clipping, showing and leading tutorials in the afternoon. People of all ages came out in force for the dayâs activities and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Iâve been showing pedigree cattle since I was a young chap of 7 or 8 and even I picked up one or two tips and tricks that Iâll be trying out this summer too. Everybody has a different approach or technique to brining out a show animal and you can apply some the skills that you liked to your own stock at home. Nobody knows it all and itâs so important to keep developing and honing your craft.
I was also giving a hand to man the Irish Aberdeen-Angus Association stand during the event and we had a lot of interest from the farmers and youngsters present. Itâs so important to keep your breed out in the public eye and ensure opportunities to promote the breed and its yearly activities arenât missed.
This week, Iâll be putting the finishing touches to our show entries for Gorey and trying to put some of my newfound tricks of the trade into practice ahead of the big show day!