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

3 ways pig farmer is using data to improve herd performance

A strict culling strategy is at the centre of improvements throughout pig producer Simon Watchorn’s outdoor breed-to-finish herd. Simple record-keeping and assessment of the whole herd’s performance have helped pinpoint…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How Welsh beef farm is in top third for low carbon emissions

A Welsh beef farm is achieving carbon emissions that are 17% lower than average. Paul and Dwynwen Williams run a herd of 60 suckler cows and intensively finish 120 dairy-bred…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How EID is helping beef finisher identify poor performers

Beef producer Geraint Evans finishes about 400 cattle annually using electronic identification (EID) technology to hit target market weights and specifications. Mr Evans aims to achieve an average daily liveweight…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

UK pig farm using EID to track piglets from birth

Pig farmer and vet Charlie Thompson, Bridge House Farm, says EID is a tool he could not live without – it is helping him to manage breeding decisions, monitor performance…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How a farm is lifting beef calf weaning and slaughter weights

Detailed cow and calf performance recording is part of an overall business drive to increase beef output at Hedgeley Farms, Northumberland. Over the past five years, farm manager Vicky Hogg…

Practical advice

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YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How to troubleshoot poor lamb growth rates

Assessing lamb performance early on is essential to ensure steps can be put in place to maintain growth rates post-weaning. The AHDB sheep key performance indicators project found light lambs…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How spring calvers are milk recording to lift cow efficiency

A Welsh dairy farm selling milk on a solids contract is using milk recording data to breed replacements from cows yielding 1kg milk solids (MS) to every 1kg of their…

LAMBING

7 ways to help hit lamb growth targets

Lamb producers can hit lamb weights by putting strategies in place which can be measured at eight weeks. Lamb weights at eight weeks are a good indication of maternal milk…

BEEF

Canadian learnings: 4 ways UK sucklers could improve profits

Beef production is a major enterprise in Canada, with more than 90,000 producers in the country. However, with harsh winters and hot summers ⁠— as well as the increasing population…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

Why farmers should assess costs before changing sheep breed

Sheep farms should fully cost their flock profit margins and assess the impact of small gains in technical performance before looking to change breed or system. This was the message…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

Beginner's guide to measuring suckler herd performance

Understanding the performance of a suckler herd is critical for making future decisions and setting targets to improve production and profitability. One way of measuring this is through Key Performance…

Insights

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BEEF

Beef sector lacks incentive for meat quality, farmers say

Processors and supermarkets are missing out on opportunities to grow the value of beef by failing to pay farmers a premium for meat with good eating quality. That’s the conclusion…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

5 new livestock gadgets for farming in 2020

From innovation to slightly improved design, engineers and inventors are constantly striving to produce the next big gadget in livestock farming.  Farmers Weekly has looked at the top products that…

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…