Methods of breeding and raising calves explained by a county Dublin farmer.

'On the Land' visits farmer John Wilson Wright's farm at St Margaret's in north Dublin to see how Hereford, Friesian, and Aberdeen Angus suckling calves are reared.

The cows start calving at the beginning of December out in the fields. As soon as the grass is gone, usually just before Christmas, the cows come in.

As part of an experiment with the Aero Cultural Institute, the farm is keeping records of the cows and the calves, each of which is tagged with a number.

We have a complete record of which cow has which calf and if anything goes wrong in the future, we know which pair to take out of the yard and isolate if necessary.

Mr Wilson Wright says that the earlier the calf arrives the better. The calf will gain considerably more weight before it goes on sale in the autumn and yields a higher price. Farm foreman Sam Sutton documents the number of the cow and the calf and the weight of the calf. At this stage, precautions are taken against infection by disinfecting the calves and keeping the yard well-bedded. 

The cows are fed on a mixture of silage and hay. Silo pits are sunk about four foot six inches below ground, with straw kept on top. Farmer Wilson Wright also describes the physical construction of the cow sheds to facilitate feeding and to protect the calves.  

This episode of 'On The Land' was broadcast on 14 January 1963. The reporter is Patrick Jennings. 

'On the Land' was a weekly programme for farmers broadcast from 1962 to 1971. Jack White, Head of Public Affairs, Telefis Eireann, wrote

Good cover of farming is a basic duty for a television network that serves an agricultural country. Telefís Éireann is anxious to do its bit to make for a better life on the land.

(RTV Guide, 9 February 1966. Vol.1, No.11, p.6)