Know How / Dairy / Breeding and fertility

Good breeding and fertility management underpin profitable milk production in the dairy herd. Keep up with the latest information on dairy cow fertility, from genetics and genomics to heat detection, artificial insemination (AI), pregnancy diagnosis and calving intervals.

Case studies

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SHEEP

How sheep dairy new entrant has doubled size of flock

A new entrant to dairy sheep farming has doubled his flock size less than a year after buying his first ewes, amid strengthening demand for milk. Huw Jones secured a…

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…

DAIRY

How a dairy is making a margin over concentrate of 29ppl

Daylesford Organic Farm is successfully keeping production costs down by running a low-input system and maximising milk from forage. The dairy is making a 29ppl margin over concentrate, with milk…

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

How dairy farmer makes over £6/kg from Jersey bull calves

When Devonshire dairy farmer Neil Weston switched from being a flying herd to breeding his own replacements it created an unwanted boom in dairy bull calves. But after being inspired…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How US dairy is extending its voluntary waiting period

Breeding cows later after calving isn’t harming pregnancy rates at George DeRuyter & Sons dairy in Sunnyside, south-east of Seattle in Washington state, where the 5,000-cow herd is averaging 26%.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why switch to autumn block calving is improving resilience   

The drive to create a dairy system that can cope with fluctuations in the milk price, improve profitability and provide a better work-life balance has seen a Yorkshire farm transition…

Practical advice

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YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Advice for ensuring heifers are the correct weight after calving

Too many heifers are still less than 85% of mature weight after calving because farmers try to "guesstimate" weights, says farm consultant Andy Dodd. Many farmers say they have had…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

6 ways to improve maiden heifer fertility

The fertility of maiden heifers can be a large profit driver. The rearing costs of youngstock are often undercalculated and when feed, bedding, housing and labour are all accounted for…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

6 tips on using genomics in your dairy herd

Genomics provides producers with an opportunity to accelerate genetic progress with confidence. North Yorkshire-based vet Neil Eastham undertook a Nuffield Scholarship to explore how UK dairy farmers can benefit from…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Outsourcing heifer rearing: What you need to consider

Heifer rearing is one of the most important jobs on the farm because they are the future of your herd. However, if you haven’t got the time, resource or facilities,…

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Will genomics work for my dairy herd?

Genomic testing has grown in popularity over the last five years, although is still far from the norm, with only 3% of farms undertaking tests. With superior reliability of 68%…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

August bull proofs: Genomic sires showcase performance ability

Young genomic sires are proving their ability to perform, making up the entire top 10 of proven Holstein sires in the August bull proof run released today (13 August) by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Benefits of cross-breeding dairy and is it right for you?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. It differs from a similar study…

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

How the dairy industry is making genetic improvements

Dairy producers have made rapid genetic progress in recent years, with gains in milk, fat and protein production and a transformation in the appearance of cows, each heavily influenced by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

What changes are Holstein UK making to type classification?

Four new traits have been introduced to Holstein UK’s type classification service. Previously, classifiers scored cows on four composite areas covering 21 linear type traits (see "Old scoring system" below).…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Fertility Focus: What can UK herds learn from US dairy systems?

Westpoint Farm vet Matt Gue visited America last summer as part of a short study tour funded by the Farm Link Travel Bursary. During his stay, he spent time in…

LIVESTOCK

How to use dairy genomics to full potential

Genomics is a tool that can be used to really drive the profitability of dairy systems, yet it’s still not being used to its full potential by many producers. US…

DAIRY

4 messages for the dairy industry

More than 15,000 farmers attended the biannual Teagasc Moorepark Research Open day in Fermoy, County Cork, on 4 July to learn about the latest research being conducted at the centre. …

LIVESTOCK

August bull proof sees shift towards high fat and protein

The latest profitable lifetime index (PLI) genetic rankings for daughter-proven Holstein bulls, published today (9 August) by AHDB Dairy, continue to show a shift towards fat and protein improvers, to…

How to get stocking rates and nutrition right

Recent research in Ireland has concluded that stocking rate has a minimal impact on fertility rate if nutrition is managed correctly. This, in hand with careful selection, means that increased…