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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SHEEP

How shearing lambs can improve growth and reduce labour

Removing the fleeces of lambs is helping lift growth rates and improve flock management on a Welsh farm. Debbie James reports. Shearing every lamb in its first summer is increasing growth rates by up to 20g a…

BEEF

Four ways 800-head suckler herd managed beef crash

Adapting to cope with price volatility has allowed an 800-head suckler enterprise to be resilient over the past year. The Hull family’s spring-calving herd is farmed alongside a large sheep…

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…

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…

Practical advice

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MEDICINES

7 tips to help improve mastitis treatment

Dairy farmers should review and tighten mastitis treatment programmes, as figures show poor cure rates on UK farms, according to vet Kath Aplin. Speaking at a webinar on mastitis, Ms…

CALVING

5 tips when late feeding to prevent night-time calving

With cows usually checked less frequently at night, calving during nocturnal hours can lead to more complications, vet bills and higher calf mortality, not to mention a lack of sleep…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Buying a stock bull: Health, safety and performance checks

Introducing a stock bull, whether it is the main breeding sire or a sweeper, can be a risky process, according to North Yorkshire vet Mark Spilman. Mr Spilman, a partner…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to recognise and manage ringwomb in livestock in labour

Ringwomb is also known as incomplete dilation of the cervix more than six hours after foetal membranes appear at the vulva. If the onset of first-stage labour was missed (in…

PIGS

4 tips to improve cleanliness and biosecurity on pig units

Cleaning and hygiene protocols help to keep out diseases and create a good impression for staff and visitors, according to pig vet Alex Thomsett from the George Veterinary Group. Whether…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How to manage minerals in suckler cows pre-calving

Making sure suckler cows are fed enough micronutrients in the run-up to calving is vital to ensure cow and calf health isn’t compromised. Farmers should be thinking about feeding micronutrients…

Insights

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How scanning can detect early pneumonia in calves

Subclinical pneumonia, where there are no obvious signs of the disease, in young calves is going undetected on farms, a Scottish study has found. Calves are more likely to succumb…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Study shows financial impact of crypto in beef herd

Cryptosporidiosis in young calves causes significant long-term weight loss and incurs huge economic costs, according to a study carried out in Scotland. The study, at Moredun Research Institute and The…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Study shows how calcium can affect dry cow fertility

Increasing calcium in pre-calving diets can improve postpartum uterine health and fertility, a recent study has revealed. The study, which took place at the University of Illinois, examined feeding dry…

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…