Robin Talbot: Common sense prevails over the yellow tag

I recently got a text from the department saying we can continue to use the yellow EID tag after July 1. A week ago, we got a text saying they couldn’t be used after July 1, which angered me.

E has been using the EID tag for a few years now and there was some left over from last season. Just throwing them in the bin would have seemed useless, especially since we paid for them.

Feelings seem to have taken over. It’s not often that I find myself praising the department, but credit where it is due.

At the time of writing, we are about 30 days away from weaning the first cow. So, obviously, now all the cows have been weaned.


We put all the cows in the cattle, and took out the lame, or long-clawed cows, and put them in our own rams.

There were 29 of them, so last week, we called our local hoof trimmer John Delaney, who sorted them out.

He noted the tag number of any cows that have chronic foot problems, and will not be bred again.

The cows went through crutches again later in the week, sorting them into three groups, according to the predicted date: July, August and September afterward.

We are well satisfied with the health of the cows, and they have a lovely glow.

July calves have received their IBR live vaccine, and also their RotoVac corona shot. Ideally, Rotovac should be given at least one month before calving, so subsequent calves will be done at due course.

All calves, bulls and heifers have got a shot of Animec for bugs and hoofs. Hopefully, he will see them in autumn.

Last year, however, we had to treat a group of oxen for hoofs in August. His growth was definitely affected so we would keep a close eye on any coughs, and proceed to treat them immediately.

Bull calves have about two months left before being put in a shed to end up in pasture, so it’s important to keep them healthy, with lots of good, fresh grass in front of them.

The supply of fresh grass is becoming a bit of a challenge in this region, as we are in a drought situation. We should be fine for a few weeks but after that there can be concern.

Since we have a lot of cows in the last two weeks of July, we should also think of making some hay for them at the time of their calving.

We have not spread any fertilizer on the pasture since the beginning of May. So we have to catch that nettle and spread some when the weather changes. The fields are just too dry to receive meaningful feedback.

If we are short of hay when cows are calving, we have silage and round bales of hay that we can use.

One task we need to get done soon is to finish cleaning up the cattle shed; and power hose slats. We will also provide electricity to cattle sheds, as we will be carrying grain in them.

It looks like this is going to be an early crop of winter barley. Cooking has started. The harvest looks quite promising, so fingers are crossed.

I recently attended an excellent event at Jimmy Madigan’s suckling beef farm near Kilkenny, Ballyhill, Co., organized by the Irish Grassland Association.

I was impressed by the high quality of the pastures and the infrastructure of the farm, but the view of the hedge followed by a hedge of mature wood really impressed me.

I would say these hedges have seen over a century of change.

In Ireland, the mentality seems to have developed that this type of housing is incompatible with commercial farming, but this farm shows that they are not only very happy, they actually complement each other.

Robin Talbot, in partnership with his mother Pam and wife Anne, farms in Ballacola, Ko Laos