Know How / Assessing performance

Case studies

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Radical change to breeding policy sees replacement rates fall

Lake District farmer Pete Webster has reduced replacement rates from 25% to 20% since radically changing his breeding policy and developing a strict culling plan. “Involvement in the AHDB's Challenge…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How rumen boluses can help manage suckler cow fertility

A Welsh beef farm has lifted the rate of conception at first service in its heifers by 10% since using bolus technology to aid heat detection. Rumen boluses are more…

SHEEP

How Yorkshire farm is using EID to find most productive ewes

A Texel-cross flock is trying to improve future profitability by using electronic identification (EID) data to select for lines that can wean two 35kg lambs at 90 days. The Wilsons…

SHEEP

Australian flock uses NZ genetics to lift rearing by 20%

Switching to a self-replacing composite breed, selected for early growth and outdoor lambing, has boosted productivity on an Australian mixed farm. The Greenline breed replaced the Merino-Leicester crossbreed 10 years…

BEEF

On-farm project shows cost benefits of home-rearing bull beef

Home-rearing bull beef on ad-lib concentrates and straw has worked out marginally cheaper for a Welsh suckler enterprise than outsourcing the job to a finishing unit. The Griffith family run…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How to work out ewe efficiency and what it can tell you

Calculating ewe efficiency can help inform fundamental flock management areas such as mature ewe weight, feeding management and weaning date.   SAC Consulting sheep and grassland specialist Poppy Frater says the process of calculating ewe efficiency…

Practical advice

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PIGS

What is lean management and how can it improve pig farming?

Lean management is a general business improvement technique that originated in the car manufacturing industry. The concept is successfully being applied to 12 pig farming businesses through the AHDB’s Smart…

BEEF

3 beef systems and their earning potential compared

More farmers are considering beef production as the industry experiences a sustained period of buoyant returns. Buying in calves and selling them as stores is now the most common system…

BEEF

How and what to record to inform suckler cow culling

Every commercial farm has its own aims and parameters, but there are some key breeding goals and culling criteria to drive suckler herd performance and profit. This is according to…

BEEF

Guide to understanding a beef killing-out sheet

Taking the information from the kill sheet, and using some basic sums, can reveal a heap of information about production and efficiency. All too often cattle are sent to slaughter…

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…

Insights

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SHEEP

Experiment shows potential for cell-grazing herbal leys

Cell-grazing promotes greater sward growth and weight of lambs weaned a hectare than continuous grazing. And cell-grazing herbal leys, or multispecies swards, has the potential to outperform less diverse ones.…

SHEEP

A buyer's guide to sheep management software

With the current uncertainty around Brexit’s impact on the sheep sector, who knows what the new year has in store. But one thing that is becoming increasingly apparent is the…

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…

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