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

Housing and hygiene tweaks help cut cases of ewe mastitis

Improvements in management and housing on a Welsh sheep farm have helped cut mastitis rates by one-third. Mastitis had been a major cause of losses in Ryan Morris’ flock of…

SHEEP

How continental flock aims to hit 1,000kg/ha

A self-replacing terminal sire flock is now targeting 1,000kg of liveweight/ha after lifting output 27% in three years. Lamb production has lifted from 517.85kg/ha to 662.61kg/ha since 2017 at Greenfield…

SHEEP

How lambing out at grass can save on labour

When David Mactaggart got his first flock of sheep 30 years ago, he had little experience and no means to employ a full-time shepherd. He needed a "one-man-and-his-dog" system, so…

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…

Practical advice

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CALVING

5 calf deformities, causes and what to do

Calf deformities at birth are caused by a wide range of issues, including physical, nutritional, infectious, and genetic. Some remain a mystery. Alex Roberts, from Garston Veterinary Group in the…

PIGS

Advice on switching to temporary crating as pressure grows

In June the European Commission announced that, by 2023, it would put together proposed legislation to phase out the use of cage systems in farming, including farrowing crates for sows.…

HUSBANDRY

Pig B&B: Tips on nutrition and stockmanship

It is normal for most contract-finishing pig businesses to have dedicated fieldsmen assigned to specific farms to assist them with all aspects of pig production. This can include everything from…

LIVESTOCK

How regenerative livestock farming can aid parasite control

Regenerative farming offers numerous solutions to animal disease, says Rob Howe, vet at LLM Vets Lancashire and a Nuffield scholar. But any big change of system, such as moving to…

PIGS

How to avoid piglet losses in large litters

Litter size has increased in the past 10 years, but so have piglet losses, according to Steve Jagger, senior pig nutritionist at feed company ABN. The challenge for pig farmers…

SHEEP

Pasteurella vaccines: Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Pasteurellosis, also known as "enzootic pneumonia", remains one of the most common causes of mortality in sheep of all ages. Despite its impact, the disease is still not wholly understood.…

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…