Know How / Husbandry

Case studies

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HOUSING AND HANDLING

Two autumn calvers compare calf housing options

Block-calving dairy farmers need sufficient accommodation to house large number of calves in a short number of weeks, with their options ranging from temporary structures such as polytunnels to purpose-built…

LIVESTOCK

How a suckler farmer is achieving six-week calving

Good nutritional management, a high bull-to-cow ratio and attention to detail is enabling a Pembrokeshire suckler beef enterprise to halve its calving period from 12 weeks to six and calve…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How a farmer is using minimal antibiotics in his dairy herd

Tim Downes has been farming with minimal antibiotics for the past six years at his two dairy farms in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Having been in organic production for 20 years, Mr…

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…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

How milk replacer improves margins for surplus lambs

Research trials have shown rearing surplus lambs on milk replacer could clear a margin of £40 a head in a strong market. Two simultaneous trials were carried out last spring…

LIVESTOCK

5 tips for successfully feeding newborn lambs

Lambs are at their most vulnerable in their first 48 hours because they are born with no circulating antibodies and are exposed to infection for the first time. Feeding plenty…

LAMBING

Top tips for managing vet students at lambing

Lambing placements offer a window into the sheep industry, and should be seen by farmers as a good investment, says vet Emily Gascoigne of Synergy Farm Health. They might even…

FEED AND NUTRITION

6 things to consider when feeding lambs milk replacer

Artificially rearing orphan and multiple lambs puts pressure on labour and production costs, but sheep farmers who get this system right will boost their lamb crops. Reliable and consistent nutrition…

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…

SHEEP

Guide to preventing enzootic abortion in ewes

Enzootic abortion, also known as chlamydial abortion, is caused by infection with the bacteria Chlamydophila abortus. The bacteria damages the placenta and reduces the transfer of nutrients to the growing lamb…

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…