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 three-way-cross beef cow is performing on Scottish farm

Introducing the Beef Shorthorn to a continental-cross (Limousin and Simmental cross) cow to create a three-way cross is helping improve the milkiness of the heifers on one Scottish beef farm.…

DAIRY

Why and how a dairy farmer is breeding his own sweeper bulls

Breeding bulls to “sweep up” after AI is giving a large-scale dairy farm control over herd biosecurity. The Harris family farm in a high-risk TB region, so a priority is…

LIVESTOCK

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…

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…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

5 tips on selecting and breeding beef replacements

Genetics is one of the biggest influences on cow performance, so breeding the right type of cow to suit your system and meet your end market is key. At a…

BEEF

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…

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…

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…