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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LAMBING

How one farmer is delivering 1.8 lambs sold per ewe

Challenging grazing conditions posed by Cotswold brash stony soils that climb up to steep inclines of 750ft make running a low-input, grass-based system untenable at Church Farm in North Stoke.…

LIVESTOCK

How a high-welfare calf unit fine tunes health and nutrition

Cousins Dominic and Stephen Isgar farm in partnership with their fathers at Dengrove Farm – a mixed arable/cattle unit near Shaftesbury, Dorset. The farm rears more than 800 calves a…

SHEEP

How a Cumbrian farm saved £18 a ewe

A complete change of mindset has seen a Cumbrian farm halve variable costs a ewe tupped from £34 to £16.53 in just five years.   Paul and Nicola Renison moved…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a farmer reduced prolapses with a self-feed silage system

A Welsh upland farm has slashed the number of prolapses at lambing by 75% since introducing a self-feed silage system for pregnant ewes.   John Parry put the system in…

CALVING

How a Yorkshire suckler herd is achieving 96% calves weaned

An easy-calving herd is making light work of outdoor calving on a Pennine hill farm, with calf mortality at 1% in recent years and minimal assistance. The Hallos family, from…

SHEEP

How a new entrant built up flock on short-term land tenures

Sheep farming can be a tough enterprise anyway, but if you’re starting with no farm, no assets and limited experience, sheer determination is worth more than anything else. Young farmer…

Practical advice

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HUSBANDRY

Video: How to properly perform a dental examination on sheep

A basic dental examination can reveal important information about any dental problems sheep may have that could hold back performance. Poor teeth can reduce dry matter intake; lead to a…

HUSBANDRY

Video: Correctly injecting cattle – a five-step guide

A good injection technique prevents damage to valuable carcass cuts and reduces the risk of injury to livestock and the handler. If an injection is administered incorrectly or with a…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Common signs of illness in pigs and tips for treatment

The identification and prompt treatment of sick animals is a key part of ensuring high animal welfare for livestock producers. Particularly for high-risk enterprises such as pig production, having the…

DAIRY

4 must-dos for transition cow management

The three weeks before and after calving are important times for cows. The dairy cow is more vulnerable and her metabolic needs increase dramatically. Get the transition right and you…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How to diagnose and treat downer cows

Getting a down cow back up on her feet as soon as possible after she collapses is the surest way to put her on the road to recovery, which makes…

LAMBING

Sheep flock health and welfare must-haves for less than £20

Simple things can be bought cheaply that can improve the hygiene and health of your flock. And with market volatility and rules governing animal welfare and antibiotic stewardship placing more…

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…