Know How / Beef / Assessing performance

Whether running suckler cows or finishing stores, collecting and using health, growth and margin data is vital for steering your enterprise in the future.

Read about the crucial fertility and cow efficiency goals for suckler herds and how to get the most of your growing cattle, whether it be on grass, forage or cereal.

Are your cows to big? What is your cost of production per kg of beef produced? Read on to find out more.

Case studies

See all


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…


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…


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…


App reveals sires worth £120 more in gross margin

Weight gain data from an app has transformed how a beef finisher markets cattle, after revealing a £120 gross margin difference in the best and worst performing sires.  Northern Irish…


How clever mobile cow mast helps improve beef breeding

Cumbrian farmer Edward Dean has built a portable mast to help transfer valuable performance-monitoring data from his Limousin herd in the field back to the farm’s computer. The rolling hills…

Practical advice

See all


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


6 ways to reduce suckler herd costs

Beef production is worth nearly £2.76bn to the UK economy but making a profit without subsidies is a challenge on some commercial systems. In Wales, figures from the most recent…


See all


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…