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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LIVESTOCK

How a tenant farm manages 3,200ha of Wiltshire grassland

An organic ranch-style farming system is allowing a Wiltshire business to run 490 cows with just two labour units and create a rare and highly valued habitat in the process.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Genomic insight helps beef producer with breeding choices

Genomic EBVs (GEBVs) may be familiar to dairy farmers but in the beef sector, genomic testing is a relatively new concept and is currently available only for the Limousin breed.…

BEEF

Why one farmer switched to Parthenaise beef breed

The Parthenaise breed is one of the oldest in France and has been refined over the past 50 years to produce high-quality beef. Its meat is some of the most…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How boluses helped suckler herd reduce calf losses by 9%

The use of smart bolus technology to identify exactly which cows are calving and target labour accordingly has helped reduce calf losses by 9% at Bowhill Farming. With 500 suckler…

LIVESTOCK

How a 93% calf sold figure helped carbon efficiency

A calving percentage of 95% and a mortality rate of 2% are helping Robert, Bob and Lucy Forrest, Preston Farm, Duns, manage greenhouse gas emissions in their beef herd. By…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why Limousin breeders have switched to Hereford

The feed wagon coming into the yard each month has been the main driver for renowned Limousin  breeders David and Maggie Kelly to completely change their breeding policy. The pair…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to manage body condition in overfit cows

Farmers are being advised to carefully manage cow body condition with anecdotal reports suggesting an increased number of caesarean sections due to overfit cows. Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) says…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

What to consider when planning a compact calving system

A key aim for any beef farmer is to produce a live calf from every cow each year. Compact calving periods are therefore vital for a productive and profitable herd.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to select a sire for your suckler herd using EBVs

Selecting a sire with the right genetics can have a major impact on both performance and profitability of suckler herds. To help farmers narrow down their decisions when it comes…

CALVING

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…

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…

Insights

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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…

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.…