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 beef farmer overcame BVD outbreak and high calf losses

When bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) struck at the worst possible time at Rob Harris’s beef unit near Ludlow during mating, it caused a storm of late abortions and high calf…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Hereford herd grows demand with line-bred US genetics

A Scottish Hereford herd has seen bull sales grow four-fold since introducing line-bred US genetics selected for high yearling weights on the Montana rangelands. The Douglas family at Ervie Herefords,…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How world’s oldest Angus herd thrives in low-cost system

An unwavering focus on management traits has seen the Ballindalloch Aberdeen Angus herd stand the test of time. The 35-cow pedigree herd has been a permanent fixture on the 8,907ha…

BEEF

How beef farmers globally are adapting to survive

With increasing market volatility and extreme weather, how can UK beef producers adapt to survive? We speak to three beef breeders from Australia and the US to find out how…

DAIRY

Are Arla producers ready for new rules on calves?

The “Every calf has a value” (ECHAV) scheme has been a beacon in the industry since it was announced in 2019, with other processors now looking at how they can…

BEEF

How a heritage beef breed is adding value to Shropshire farm

Organic farmers Sam and Claire Barker are using the UK’s oldest heritage breed to dovetail with their arable and poultry enterprises to keep inputs low. Their herd of 300 pure…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to ensure heifers calve at two years old

For suckler cows to be most profitable, calving for the first time at 24 months old is considered optimum. Research suggests that calving heifers for the first time at this…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Advice on optimising suckler fertility with better nutrition

The post-calving period is a time of major metabolic change for a cow, and ensuring her nutrition needs are met over the next few months is critical in hitting a…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

What is pelvic scoring and how valuable is it for calving?

A heifer breeding soundness examination (HBSE) should be a key part of pre-breeding preparation, alongside bull examinations. This should incorporate objective information that has been accurately calculated or measured, including…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Advice on managing body condition in cattle pre-calving

Weather conditions in recent years have tended to become hotter and wetter, or hotter with drought, producing variable grazing conditions around the UK. As a result, cattle have been approaching…

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…

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…