Know How / Husbandry

Animal husbandry covers a broad range of topics around livestock management throughout its lifetime. Including video guides on best practice, these articles look at the elements key to optimising stockmanship at the various stages of livestock production.

Case studies

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PIGS

Single-parity move lifts pig herd performance

Setting up single-parity herds has been central to improving pig health across the entire breeding and finishing pig operation at North Farm Livestock (NFL) in Holt, Norfolk. NFL was one…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Video: How a large dairy is keeping youngstock mortality low

A large US dairy is achieving exceptionally low mortality rates of 1% in its pre-weaned calves, and hitting daily growth rates of 800g up to weaning. About 1,800 calves will…

MEDICINES

How oral dosing was cut by 70% in high-input flock

A County Durham shepherd is heading into the 2020 lambing period hoping to continue using fewer antibiotics in neonatal lambs after a major reduction last year. Graeme Wood, who has…

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Inside a boar stud looking at how semen is collected

Attention to detail in the boar stud when it comes to housing, health, feeding, semen collection and processing has allowed farmers to access superior genetics of the highest health status…

DAIRY

2019 Gold Cup dairy farmer finalists revealed

This year’s shortlist for the 2019 Gold Cup highlights the award’s remit in identifying the best across all sectors, with cross-bred herds, an organic system and top production units in…

Practical advice

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HUSBANDRY

4 options for keeping piglets warm

Keeping piglets warm is critical to maintaining health and achieving early growth. But balancing the piglet’s ideal temperature of between 25-30C with the sow’s optimum temperature of 15-18C is difficult…

SHEEP

3 ways to capitalise on high sheep scanning percentage

Favourable grazing conditions have lifted scanning rates on many UK farms, with one vet practice reporting an average increase of 10-15%. At Carmarthen Veterinary Centre, scanning percentages are up 10-15%…

HUSBANDRY

What is the value of weighing dairy cows?

Automatically weighing cows when they enter the milking robot could provide a useful gauge of feed and dry cow management success, and also enable accurate dosing of medicines. Weigh platforms…

HUSBANDRY

Tail docking lambs: Advice, legislation and methods compared

Tail docking is routinely carried out to avoid soiling of the fleece around a lamb’s rear and thus prevent fly strike - a painful condition where flies lay their eggs…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to reduce the risk of abortions in cattle

Cattle abortion is a significant health and welfare issue that causes economic loss in treatment costs, lost production and labour inputs. Just a single case of abortion represents a substantial…

LAMBING

8 ways to prepare for a busy lambing season

With lambing already under way on some units and not far around the corner for most commercial sheep farms, it is timely to start thinking about preparation for lambing. It…

Insights

FEED AND NUTRITION

Trial shows high iodine cow diet can hinder colostrum uptake

A survey of iodine supplementation in beef herds has revealed that over supplementation pre-calving can negatively affect calves’ ability to absorb colostrum. A collaborative research project between Moredun Research Institute,…

LIVESTOCK

4 sheep recording methods compared: which one is best?

Carmarthenshire sheep farmer and Aberystwyth University graduate Huw Williams completed a HCC scholarship in 2015 looking at how extensive systems in New Zealand and Australia were recording parentage. Talking about…

SHEEP

Research shows value of monitoring ewe body condition

New research has shown just how valuable it is to record and monitor body condition in commercial ewe flocks and keep it consistent year-round.   Independent sheep consultant Lesley Stubbings…

LAMBING

How sheep colostrum trials are helping to reduce antibiotics

Trials are comparing two lamb blood tests in a bid to reduce antibiotics use on farms through optimising ewe nutrition and health.  A series of farm studies has compared refractometer tests…

LAMBING

Sheep industry and farmers rally to tackle black loss

Concern is mounting in the Scottish sheep sector around a phenomenon severely limiting the economic performance and genetic progress of many upland flocks.  The perennial and unaccountable disappearance of lambs…

LIVESTOCK

Weaning lambs early could offer big benefits, trial shows

Early weaned lambs can grow as fast – if not – faster than their unweaned equivalents when fed legume-based forages. Research by New Zealand’s Massey University has found with the right…

Pros and cons of leaving male lambs entire

Are there any advantages of leaving male lambs entire? The answer is certainly, yes, but producers who consider reaping the benefits must also be aware of the management challenges it…

Alternative ewe protein offers cost-effective solution

Sheep farmers looking to top up protein in late-pregnancy ewe diets can use alternatives to soya without affecting animal performance. According to a project funded by Eblex, HCC, Adas and…