Know How / Assessing performance

Monitoring, recording and analysing your herd or flock’s performance is vital for a successful dairy, beef, sheep or pig business. Find out how to use condition scoring, growth rates, EID and scanning information to improve performance, inform breeding programmes, and manage cost of production.

Case studies

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ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How share-farming sheep venture is aiming for low-cost system

A large-scale sheep enterprise has identified key performance indicators (KPIs) it can improve to lift flock performance and profit. Rhys Williams is a partner in a sheep production joint venture…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How to assess cow efficiency with liveweight measurement

Top producing cows make €750 (£660) more than less efficient animals, a Teagasc project has found. County Waterford spring calver Oli O’Gorman was one of the farmers within the Deise…

DAIRY

How once-a-day milking can be as profitable as twice

When Liam and Catherine Millerick read that once-a-day milking could be as profitable as twice a day, inspired by the lifestyle benefits, it didn’t take them long to start researching…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Texel tup breeder works towards forage-only system

A Texel flock on the Llŷn Peninsula is one year into the process of switching its tup-rearing system to one based on forage and performance recording. Dafydd Jones of Cefn Caer…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How beef finishers have improved health and cattle weight gain

Productivity and efficiency are core principles of running a profitable beef enterprise, but with so many influential factors it can be a challenge to know what to target. Mixed beef…

SHEEP

How a farmer is improving growth and conformation of sheep

The Cernyw flock of performance-recorded Bluefaced Leicesters is lifting Mule sale weights for its ram buyers by placing a strong emphasis on performance recording and ramping up its ram genetic…

Practical advice

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BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Tips on dealing with tight cashflow as dairy margins tighten

With input costs rising and a number of milk processors announcing cuts to farmgate prices, dairy farm margins are being squeezed yet again. Many producers will be hoping there won’t…

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

Video: Guide to selecting lambs for slaughter

Getting the best price for your finished lambs is not just about deciding whether to sell liveweight or deadweight, but about sending lambs that are in the right condition. For…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Replacing cereals with forage can increase beef gross margin

Replacing some cereals in the diet with a high energy forage for finishing beef steers can increase daily liveweight gain and increase gross margin by £115 a head. Researchers at…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

4 ways to use milking data to drive profitability

Many dairy farmers have access to a wealth of data at their fingertips, but they are not exploiting it to its full value to help drive improvements in herd productivity…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

Advice on selecting flock replacements

Ewe productivity is linked directly to flock profitability so selecting replacements is crucial to future performance. Foot and udder health, the condition of teeth and mouth and overall body condition…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Guide to feed planning and forage for finishing lambs

Too many sheep farms fail to produce a plan for finishing lambs, missing opportunities to maximise returns for the current crop and jeopardising ewe condition ahead of the next, says…

Insights

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LIVESTOCK

Beef sire worth up to €200 more in dairy-cross calf profit

Selecting the right beef bull on terminal traits could benefit Irish beef farm margins by €150-€200 a head in carcass quality and feed efficiency, according to a national initiative. Industry…

LIVESTOCK

4 sheep recording methods compared: which one is best?

Carmarthenshire sheep farmer and Aberystwyth University graduate Huw Williams completed a HCC scholarship in 2015 looking at how extensive systems in New Zealand and Australia were recording parentage. Talking about…

SHEEP

Research shows value of monitoring ewe body condition

New research has shown just how valuable it is to record and monitor body condition in commercial ewe flocks and keep it consistent year-round.   Independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings…

LIVESTOCK

Selecting for feed efficiency could raise beef profits 39%

Including feed efficiency in the genetic selection indices of beef cattle has the potential to increase farm-level profit by 39% and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 22%. Preliminary results…

LIVESTOCK

6 key factors influencing dairy herd profitability

The importance of maintaining a long-lived herd by keeping cows healthy and reducing deaths are key to profitability during periods of milk price volatility. Referencing benchmarking data from 65 US…

DAIRY

How top dairy herds cut operating costs in 2016

The best-performing dairy business that made a profit in the low payout year of 2016 managed to reduce their operating expenses by 4p/litre on average, with feed costs being hammered…

LIVESTOCK

Finishing bulls v steers: Which is best for your farm?

Bulls produce higher liveweight gains, heavier carcass weights and achieve better financial returns than steers, a study has shown.  The research, carried out by Harper Adams University, Shropshire, used Holstein…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Finishing performance of terminal sires compared

Calves sired by bulls with higher terminal indices record heavier carcass weights resulting in returns worth an additional £45/animal when compared to progeny of bulls with lower genetic merit. Harper…

DAIRY

How to increase grazed grass without incurring extra costs

As we approach turnout and grazing opportunities for more profit, it is essential we all understand why there is so much value and profit in planning and using grazed grass. News…

LIVESTOCK

Areas to focus on to improve dairy efficiency

Focusing on efficiency measures rather than cost-cutting should be the objective to establish what is eating away at your profits. The last thing dairy farmers will want to be told…

LIVESTOCK

The costs to consider before increasing milk output

Dairy farmers considering pushing for output just because the milk price is starting to rise are being warned to beware of the additional costs involved.  According to independent dairy consultant…

EGGS

How data management helps egg producers improve profits

Broiler producers are frequently commended for their data collection and for the fact they use this information to monitor flock performance carefully and respond to changes as and when they…