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 sheep farmer finishes and sells lambs in five months

March-born lambs reared on a dense clover ley at Duncan Nelless’ 566ha mixed organic farm achieve liveweight gains of 400g/day and the whole crop is sold within five months. Thistleyhaugh…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How one sheep farm benefits at sales from 'gold-plus' standard

When Andrew and Jan Walton present their latest crop of performance-recorded Charollais rams and ewes for sale this month, there will be no mistaking those with the highest genetic merit.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Beef farm targets five herd KPIs to help cut costs

Grassland management and genetics are key focus areas for tenant farmer Guy Prudom, who wishes to reduce his cost of production/kg of liveweight from 328p/kg to 250p/kg.  Mr Prudom runs…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Irish Economic Breeding Index helps improve dairy cow fertility

Fertility is improving in Ireland’s largely block-calving dairy industry despite tough growing seasons and ambitious herd expansion plans since milk quotas ended in 2015. The average national calving interval has…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

Performance recording worth £5 a lamb to Dorset breeder

Poll Dorset breeder Graham Langford abandoned the show ring in favour of focusing on Signet recording. He credits the move with increasing the value of his prime lambs by £5…

LIVESTOCK

How UK herd achieved world top 10 ranking for milk yield

While many farmers are moving to grass-based systems to lower costs, one family farm in Shropshire has decided to do the complete the opposite in order to future-proof their dairy…

Practical advice

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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…

SHEEP

9 tips for minimising lamb production costs

As margins get squeezed, keeping a lid of lamb production costs is key to allow for profits to be made. Below, AHDB knowledge transfer senior manager Katie Thorley and Farming…

LIVESTOCK

Advice on calculating your lamb production costs

Cost control in lamb production is key to making a profit in a sector where seasonal supply fluctuations can cut market prices and squeeze margins. Even when businesses are geared…

DAIRY

Glossary: terms used in dairy fertility data

There’s a bewildering array of terms used for benchmarking fertility. As data becomes more important in achieving efficiency, many of the words and phrases used may be misinterpreted or are…

LAMBING

How to record lamb losses and why it's vital

Aly Balsam speaks to some sheep specialists to find out what information should be recorded, how it can be done in a practical way to avoid overloading staff at lambing…

LIVESTOCK

What is the ideal DM to milk solids ratio?

Producing 1kg of milk solids (MS) from 10kg DM of used pasture should be a target for everyone striving for a robust spring-calving system, according to research from Teagasc, Ireland’s…

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…