Know How / Beef / Breeding and fertility

Good fertility is the foundation of a profitable beef herd. Here you can find the latest breeding developments including advice on selecting genetics, using genomics and EBVs. Learn how to improve heat detection and conception rates to maximise the number of calves born in your herd.

Case studies

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How a Hereford breeder is increasing cow efficiency

A Scottish Borders farming family has seen a 15% increase in the number of cows weaning 50% of their weight in the past 10 years. ­­­­ The Wilson family of…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How beef farmer is achieving gross margin of £370 a cow

Running a profitable, low-cost suckler beef business is no mean feat, with AHDB Farmbench figures suggesting the middle 50% of producers are making a gross profit per cow put to…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How AI is improving genetic growth in a Welsh suckler herd

Artificial insemination (AI) in combination with a heat detection programme is fast-tracking genetic improvement in a new beef suckler herd. Martin and Hilary Salmon and their son, Matthew, established a…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How Wilts farmer manages herd extensively with minimal labour

Compact calving, outwintering of all cattle and forage-only finishing is enabling herd manager Robert Huxley to run the 250-suckler herd at Yews Farm on the Longford Estate in Salisbury, largely…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

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…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Pelvic measuring cuts assisted calvings and calf losses

Dismissing heifers with suboptimal pelvic size before breeding has helped more than halve assisted calvings from 20% of the total to 9% and cut calf losses from 8.6% to 3%…

LIVESTOCK

9 tips on buying a bull and getting him off to a good start

Buying a bull can be a relatively straight-forward process, but making sure that bull gets cows in calf in a compact breeding season for several years is more difficult. There…

BEEF

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Pick the right heat detection system for your farm

Automated heat detection systems are a big investment, so how do you decide what’s right for you? We asks farm vet Michael Wilkinson from Nantwich Veterinary Group important questions all…

BEEF

Advice for finishing beef cattle at lower carcass weights

Beef nutritionist David Hendy believes the efficient production of finished cattle at lighter weights can still be profitable providing cattle are pushed at a younger age. Although he acknowledges lighter…

Top tips for managing suckler cows

As many suckler cows are now out with the bull, now is the time to focus on tightening the calving period for next year. Eblex senior beef and sheep scientist…

Insights

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LIVESTOCK

Finishing results reveal high reliability of EBVs

Repeating a trial comparing the performance of terminal beef sires has shown estimated breeding values (EBVs) are highly reliable, with higher genetic merit progeny outperforming calves bred from bulls with…

BEEF

Breeder outlines a new direction for a better beef industry

The beef industry requires an urgent change of direction with emphasis put on breeding and feed efficiencies to counter the effects of continuing commodity price volatility and uncertainty over farm…

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Sire selection one of easiest ways to improve fertility

Keeping records and making better efforts to select the right sire is key to helping beef producers improve fertility and increase profitability on their farm, according to scientists. Research by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Target daily liveweight gains to cut beef finishing times

Setting strict targets for daily liveweight gains and getting rid of animals that are not hitting the grade is helping beef finisher Meilir Jones keep a tight rein on costs…

BEEF

Manipulating EBVs counterproductive for beef producers

Beef industry leaders believe it’s getting tougher for breeders to get away with manipulating estimated breeding values (EBVs) to improve the value of cattle. Claims persist – particularly on social…

Focus on calving ease EBV when buying beef bulls

Anyone who thinks they can look at a bull and assess its calving ease is mistaken. It’s not possible to see the genes that control how easy calving a bull…

Survey sees large fall in Charolais and Hereford suckler cows

A greater focus on terminal sire traits could have implications for the UK’s suckler beef industry over the next decade, compromising maternal traits like calving ease.  An Eblex-funded study looking…

A guide to the changes to the dairy bull proofs

It’s been seven years since the last major update to the dairy bull proofs and since then, milk prices have increased, and so too have feed and cull cow prices.…

Maternal genetics key to improve beef production

Suckler cows are often the forgotten part of the jigsaw in many beef herds. While there has been a massive push to use EBV sires in beef herds during the…