Rethinking cattle performance

Improving cattle management and performance

Farmers Weekly, in association with Zoetis, Volac and ABP, ran four on-farm best practice workshops looking at improving cattle management, performance and efficiency throughout the whole life cycle of the animal.

The campaign focused on the three most important factors affecting a cattle rearing enterprise: housing, health and nutrition.

Farmers Weekly wants to promote healthier, more productive cattle at every stage of the cattle management process, be that dairy or beef. In these workshops we will provide advice and practical steps that will help make your rearing business more efficient and more profitable, while highlighting that these measures can be relatively simple and cheap to implement.

Cattle rearing farms are businesses and in order to be successful must be managed with a clear understanding of the factors that will affect cattle performance and that of the enterprise as a whole:

  • Inputs: feed, housing and healthcare provision
  • Outputs: waste products, meat and profit
  • Variabilities: weather and environmental conditions

Whether you are a dairy farm rearing calves as replacements or for beef, a beef farmer rearing calves and/or finishing them or a suckler producer, youngstock management is critical to producing healthier calves, reducing losses and improving the age at first calving.

The 2017 workshops have now finished but you can register your interest to take part in 2018 workshops.


Farmers Weekly has found four farms from around the UK that are currently running their cattle rearing enterprises to exemplary standards.

These farms, and farmers, will each host one best-practice workshop focusing on a different calf rearing system – dairy beef and dairy heifer rearing, store and finished beef enterprises – to represent the diversity of management techniques seen across the country.

Delegates at these educational workshops will have the chance to learn from the host farmers, leading experts in the fields of cattle housing, health and nutrition, and experienced veterinary surgeons.

There will also be the opportunity to discuss important issues facing you as a cattle rearer with these experts and your peers.

Industry experts, Jamie Robertson and Richard Vecqueray, along with some of the country’s top farmers, will talk about best practice calf management and the challenges the industry faces.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Housing and environment
  • Colostrum management
  • Nutrition
  • Disease and productivity

Where and when?

Farmers Weekly’s ‘Rethinking Cattle Performance’ workshops will take place on farms around the country, to give people from across the UK the chance to attend and learn from experts and interact with their peers. Below are the locations and dates for the four workshops.

We will be giving all delegates at our Rethinking Cattle Performance workshops a free toolkit worth over £100. The toolkit will be jam-packed with useful items to get you started on your journey of improving your cattle rearing enterprise, including:

  • Colostrum-quality refractometer
  • Vaccine care cards
  • Calf jacket
  • Guides on a range of important cattle management factors: growth rate measurement and targets, preventing and detecting disease in your herd, feed conversion efficiency
  • Growth monitoring chart


Workshop 1
9 February 2017
10.30am – 15.30pm
South West – Wiltshire
Jo and Steve Pile – dairy beef rearers

Workshop 2
2 March 2017
10.30am – 15.30pm
The Midlands/Wales – Cheshire
Rick Ford – dairy heifer rearer

Workshop 3
16 March 2017
10.30am – 15.30pm
Scottish Borders – Jedburgh
Robert Neil, Upper Nisbet Farm – beef finisher

Workshop 4
30 March 2017
10.30am – 15.30pm
Northern Ireland – Co Antrim
David Anderson – breeds and sells stores

The 2017 workshops have now finished but you can register your interest to take part in 2018 workshops.

Our partners

Connect with Farmers Weekly