Know How / Beef / Husbandry

Careful youngstock management in beef herds will help maximise heifer and bull calf performance, bring forward first-time breeding and increase margins. Find key advice on newborn calf care and protocols such as foot-trimming, dehorning and body condition scoring.

Case studies

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Collaborative calf-rearing venture brings multiple benefits

A joint calf-rearing enterprise between two neighbouring farms in the Midlands is bringing benefits to both parties. The new profit-sharing agreement has brought extra income to beef and sheep farming…


How a suckler farmer is achieving six-week calving

Good nutritional management, a high bull-to-cow ratio and attention to detail is enabling a Pembrokeshire suckler beef enterprise to halve its calving period from 12 weeks to six and calve…


Four ways 800-head suckler herd managed beef crash

Adapting to cope with price volatility has allowed an 800-head suckler enterprise to be resilient over the past year. The Hull family’s spring-calving herd is farmed alongside a large sheep…


Video: What’s In Your Livestock Shed? A high-health calf unit

Calves reared in a specific youngstock unit are growing 100g/day faster during the 20-120-day phase in early trial work. The High Health Unit (HHU) prototype has been trialled for two…


How a South Devon farm has reduced age at first calving

A change in youngstock management has allowed a Cornish farm to maximise growth rates and reduce age at first calving to two years. The Rowes, who run a 140-cow South…


How a high-welfare calf unit fine tunes health and nutrition

Cousins Dominic and Stephen Isgar farm in partnership with their fathers at Dengrove Farm – a mixed arable/cattle unit near Shaftesbury, Dorset. The farm rears more than 800 calves a…

Practical advice

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3 cattle handling kit options to stay safe at calving

Long hours, a lack of sleep, busy workloads and extra handling of livestock make calving a particularly risky time of year for farm staff. In addition, handling stock with protective…


How to manage calves unable to suckle due to 'squinty jaw'

Vets and farmers have been collaborating across the UK to unravel a frustrating calving conundrum that can render up to 15% of calves unable to suck their dams. Otherwise healthy…


How spring-calvers can prepare for end of bull calf euthanasia

Producing a viable dairy bull calf is a challenge in a system that relies on an efficient cow of smaller stature to maximise milk production from grazed grass on the…


5 calf deformities, causes and what to do

Calf deformities at birth are caused by a wide range of issues, including physical, nutritional, infectious, and genetic. Some remain a mystery. Alex Roberts, from Garston Veterinary Group in the…


How regenerative livestock farming can aid parasite control

Regenerative farming offers numerous solutions to animal disease, says Rob Howe, vet at LLM Vets Lancashire and a Nuffield scholar. But any big change of system, such as moving to…


How mineral supplementation can spare spring calf pneumonia

Relying on quality forage alone to support spring-calving cows in late gestation can lead to mineral shortages and a rise in fatal bacteria pneumonia in young calves each spring.  Simple…



How scanning can detect early pneumonia in calves

Subclinical pneumonia, where there are no obvious signs of the disease, in young calves is going undetected on farms, a Scottish study has found. Calves are more likely to succumb…


Study shows financial impact of crypto in beef herd

Cryptosporidiosis in young calves causes significant long-term weight loss and incurs huge economic costs, according to a study carried out in Scotland. The study, at Moredun Research Institute and The…


Trial shows high iodine cow diet can hinder colostrum uptake

A survey of iodine supplementation in beef herds has revealed that over supplementation pre-calving can negatively affect calves’ ability to absorb colostrum. A collaborative research project between Moredun Research Institute,…