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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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…


How a Yorkshire suckler herd is achieving 96% calves weaned

An easy-calving herd is making light work of outdoor calving on a Pennine hill farm, with calf mortality at 1% in recent years and minimal assistance. The Hallos family, from…


How a Charolais herd is improving its maternal traits

Investing in easy-calving bulls has brought significant gains in the maternal figures of the pedigree Charolais herd at Falleninch Farm, Stirling, with their self-replacing index lifting by 9.8 index points…

Practical advice

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How to recognise and manage ringwomb in livestock in labour

Ringwomb is also known as incomplete dilation of the cervix more than six hours after foetal membranes appear at the vulva. If the onset of first-stage labour was missed (in…


How to manage minerals in suckler cows pre-calving

Making sure suckler cows are fed enough micronutrients in the run-up to calving is vital to ensure cow and calf health isn’t compromised. Farmers should be thinking about feeding micronutrients…


How to reduce the risk of abortions in cattle

Cattle abortion is a significant health and welfare issue that causes economic loss in treatment costs, lost production and labour inputs. Just a single case of abortion represents a substantial…


Video: Step-by-step guide to administering cattle pour-ons

Correct use of pour-on products increases the chance of the active drug working and limits drug resistance development. This is according to vet Miranda Timmerman of ProStock Vets, Carmarthenshire, who…


Video: Correctly injecting cattle – a five-step guide

A good injection technique prevents damage to valuable carcass cuts and reduces the risk of injury to livestock and the handler. If an injection is administered incorrectly or with a…


How to prevent and treat common problems at calving

For suckler farmers, income for the year is dependent on a successful calf crop, so keeping cows as healthy as possible at calving time is critical to ensure each animal…



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,…