Autumn sees the arrival of the ram sales and sheep farmers are being advised to check out potential purchases on the internet before going along to the sales.

“With an investment in a performance recorded ram with a high Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) shown to be worth an additional £800-1,000 over his working lifetime, extra genetic information can be valuable,” says Eblex breeding specialist Sam Boon.

See also: Recording with EID helps boost flock performance

“Information about breeding potential (EBVs/Indexes) is now often displayed at sales. However, there is more information available for most Signet-recorded flocks on the Signet website.

“This enables potential purchasers to identify how many lambs a flock has produced that meet their breeding requirements and generate breeding charts for rams of interest.”

Grass quality

The good spring and early summer has boosted grass growth, however maintaining grass quality has been a challenge, according to Eblex’s Liz Genever.

“There are reasonable levels of seed heads blowing in the wind in some fields,” she says.

“But before deciding to top it, it’s worth thinking about the amount of seed head as a proportion of the total feed available in the field – it’s probably not as bad as you think.”

“If the seed heads are light try and ignore them. If they are heavy, think about strip grazing with a back fence, using weaned fit ewes, dry cows or youngstock to clear the pastures up – avoid topping if possible.”

Pigs

For pig farmers, August is a good time to plan staffing over the rest of the summer as well as looking ahead to training courses in September.

Pig producers should try to plan staff cover during the summer holiday period and have up-to-date work instructions to hand, says Bpex lead knowledge transfer manager Steve Winfield.

“Arranging for staff to ‘shadow’ others can also help prepare staff to cover tasks they might not be familiar with, to help reduce the risk of any productivity dip.”

Free Bpex resources are available to help, including work instruction templates and more than 90 short video clips on the Practical Pig App, which can be viewed online or downloaded to smartphones and tablets.

Planning for the next round of BPEX Stockman Development and Stockman Plus schemes is under way so pig stockmen and managers are asked to consider whether they are interested in the courses this autumn and let Bpex know.

Bpex skills development co-ordinator Samantha Bowsher adds that full details of locations, dates and content will be available in September.

The Stockman Development scheme is a combination of pig production workshops and visits to feed mills and abattoirs and Stockman Plus is the next level up, including on-farm problem solving. Register your interest by emailing samantha.bowsher@bpex.ahdb.org.uk.

Dairy

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have, for the first time, confirmed the presence of digital dermatitis on hoof knifes used on cattle and sheep following research jointly funded by DairyCo and EBLEX.

Jenny Gibbons, DairyCo research & development manager, said: “This study could help farmers, vets and hoof trimmers to understand more about the transmission of digital dermatitis between cows and farms.

“A logical precaution to limit the spread is to disinfect hoof trimming equipment between animals and between farms,” she says.