Know How / Beef / Youngstock management

Careful youngstock management in beef herds will help maximise heifer and bull calf performance, bring forward first-time breeding and increase margins. We have advice on newborn calf care, nutrition, breed selection, disease prevention, genetics, target growth rates and first-time breeding protocols.

Case studies

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HOUSING AND HANDLING

Video: What’s In Your Livestock Shed? A high-health calf unit

Calves reared in a specific youngstock unit are growing 100g/day faster during the 20-120-day phase in early trial work. The High Health Unit (HHU) prototype has been trialled for two…

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…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

How calf rearers have drastically reduced pneumonia cases

Thomas Williams has drastically reduced calf pneumonia by 36% since erecting a purpose-built calf unit.  Mr Williams, who farms with his parents Robert and Angela and wife Michelle in Ellesmere,…

LIVESTOCK

How Co-op’s scheme keeps calves in the supply chain

Food retailer the Co-operative Group is expanding a calf scheme that integrates its dairy and beef supply chains. The scheme provides an outlet for all dairy/beef calves, including dairy bulls…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Better ventilation reduces pneumonia in calf-rearing system

Jonathan Hames switched from dairy to beef farming two years ago when the milk price crisis took its toll. Familiar with managing dairy youngstock, he changed to rearing Aberdeen Angus-cross…

LIVESTOCK

High-protein calf feed cuts finishing times by one month

Embracing the North American strategy of feeding a high-protein pellet to calves has been part of a ration rethink that has knocked one month off finishing times for rose veal…

Practical advice

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HEALTH AND WELFARE

Q&A: Pneumonia in calves and how to combat it

Young calves have a big surface area for their body size, which means they can lose heat very quickly. This, combined with the fact their immune system is not yet…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Everything you need to know about automatic calf feeders

Many dairy farmers and calf rearers are moving to automatic milk feeders to reduce labour input. We look at what kind of management they require, how to get the best…

HUSBANDRY

How to minimise calf stress if weaning early

Weaning calves early to help eke out winter forage stocks is good practice but must be carefully managed to minimise stress on the young animal, according to vet Jenny Hull.…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

How to tackle cryptosporidium in calves

Cryptosporidiosis is the major cause of calf scour in UK beef and dairy herds and has been identified in samples from more than 40% of diagnosed infectious diarrhoea cases. Infected…

PARASITIC DISEASES

Q&A: How to prevent and treat coccidiosis in calves

Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease usually seen in young beef and dairy calves aged between three weeks and six months. Infection is chiefly dependent on the level of challenge they…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Guide to weaning beef calves to reduce stress

Weaning can be a stressful experience for a cow and calf, breaking the maternal-offspring bond and removing milk from the calf’s diet. However, there are strategies beef producers can take…

Insights

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

7 risk factors of pneumonia in calves and how to avoid them

Buying calves from multiple sources and feeding calves only once a day could be putting animals at risk of getting pneumonia, a study has found. AHDB assessed data from eight…

FEED AND NUTRITION

What are the benefits of milk replacer for calf rearers?

More than half of all dairy and beef farmers in Great Britain now rear their youngstock on calf milk replacer (CMR) instead of whole milk, with potential disease risks a…

LIVESTOCK

Why textbook heifer growth rates may not be good enough

Dairying experts at home and abroad are questioning whether units are achieving heifer growth targets of 0.7-0.8kg/day and if this gain is sufficient for the modern Holstein. Concerted efforts to…

BEEF

Is bigger better when it comes to cow size?

Finding the right sized cow to suit the system is key to suckler productivity. Farmers Weekly analyses whether bigger or smaller cows are best. A growing number of farms are…

LIVESTOCK

Pneumonia in calves: Pin down the cause and prevent it

Bacteria that cause pneumonia are fairly widespread and can live in a calf’s respiratory tract without causing disease. In the final part of this series, Caroline Stocks looks at what…

LIVESTOCK

Pneumonia in calves: How farmers can cut the risk

The aim of Farmers Weekly’s new series is to help farmers reduce the costs of pneumonia
in calves. Caroline Stocks sets the scene with 
a look at the results of an…