The 2022-born calves were weighed on the ABP Demo Farm earlier this month and ABP Food Groups’ Advantage Beef Programme farm liaison officer Sean Maher has analysed their performance.

Maher explained the 2022-born cattle are now nearing the end of their housing period and the plan is for these to start going to grass in the coming weeks.

He said: “To say they have performed well over the winter would be an understatement.”

The table below outlines the performance of the 2022-born cattle on the ABP Demo Farm based on breed. Weights were recorded on February 2:

BreedAverage weight
Belgian Blue324kg
Note: Friesians are slightly older as they were born at the start of the breeding season

“The 2022-born cattle were housed with an average weight 10kg below the batches from previous years and when weighed on February 2, the cattle had an average weight of 328kg,” Maher said.

“This is approximately 10kg heavier than the average weight of batches in previous years.”

The table below outlines the sires with the best-performing progeny on the ABP Demo Farm:

SireAverage weight of progeny on the ABP Demo Farm

He said that the 2022-born cattle had an average daily liveweight gain of over 1kg/day throughout the winter.

The Advantage Beef Programme farm liaison officer said: “These cattle haven’t received any extra meal compared to other years and the boost in performance can be attributed to the inclusion of red clover silage in the diet.”

This winter, the decision was made to add red clover silage in the diets of all the 2022-born dairy-beef cattle on the farm. Red clover silage accounted for approximately one third of their total mixed ration (TMR).

Maher noted that it now remains to be seen whether the cattle’s weight gain over the winter has been “too good” and if there will be a check in performance when they go to grass.

He expressed confidence that this would not be the case and believes the cattle will continue to perform, saying “feed intake drives performance”.

The table below outlines the sires and weight of the top performing individual calves on the ABP Demo Farm:


Concentrates have now been pulled from the diet as the cattle prepare for turnout to grass and stocks of red clover are now running low.

The first of the 2023-born calves are expected to arrive in the coming week and the plan is for the farm to purchase approximately 400 of these.

Grass growth rates on the farm are starting pick up slowly, Maher added, and depending on the requirements, paddocks have received an application of urea, slurry, or farmyard manure.

Store lamb update

There have now been over 100 lambs drafted for slaughter. The average weight of the lambs as of Tuesday (February 14) was 44.7kg.

Store lambs in for weighing on the ABP Demo Farm:

Over 550 ewe and weather lambs were purchased last autumn.

Lambs are drafted for slaughter at 48-50kg with the aim of producing a carcass weight between 22kg and 23kg. This is to ensure the lambs meet carcass specifications.

These are now being supplemented at grass with concentrates and the hope is to draft lambs for slaughter every week from now going forward.