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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BEEF

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…

BEEF

3 ways a beef farmer is adapting to improve profitability

Spring-calving suckler and arable farmer Mike Powley is adapting his business to improve labour efficiency and environmental sustainability. Mr Powley, who farms with his father, is making changes to ensure…

CALVING

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…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Breeding and rearing Miniature Hereford cattle off grass

Producing efficient cattle that finish off forage alone has become a mission for many extensive beef farmers seeking to improve profit margins. Shropshire mixed farmer Helen Forsyth believes smaller cattle…

Practical advice

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LIVESTOCK MARKETING

Alternatives to selling livestock at markets this autumn

Ongoing social distancing restrictions and the uncertainty surrounding some breeding stock sales mean farmers may have to think about alternative ways to buy and sell their stock. The backend of the…

BEEF

Advice on weaning and creep feeding suckled calves

Weaning calves can be a stressful event for both the cow and calf, but it is necessary to give the cow time to recuperate in time for the next breeding…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Buying a stock bull: Health, safety and performance checks

Introducing a stock bull, whether it is the main breeding sire or a sweeper, can be a risky process, according to North Yorkshire vet Mark Spilman. Mr Spilman, a partner…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

4 reasons to use artificial insemination in beef herds

Commercial beef farmers could benefit from a tighter calving period and higher calf weights by adopting artificial insemination, alongside a synchronisation programme. Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) data suggests each day…

BEEF

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…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Lim-gate: What next for EBVs?

The exposure of errors relating to the registration of birth dates and parentage of cattle last year brought into question the legitimacy and accuracy of data feeding into Estimated Breeding…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why calving ease should be suckler herd priority

Selecting bulls with a positive calving ease estimated breeding value (EBV) should be a priority for suckler producers who are aiming to improve herd efficiency, a study has shown. Researchers…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Livestock gene editing: Current rules and potential benefits

The potential to make our own legislation after leaving the EU could provide scope for gene editing of livestock to become mainstream in the UK. Gene editing changes a precise…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Trial shows huge merit of using EBVs with beef herds

Using bulls with a higher terminal index can be worth more than £80 a finished calf, according to new research carried out at Harper Adams University. Using Hereford bulls, the…

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…