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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HOUSING AND HANDLING

How one dairy farm installed robots to cut down milking time

Since robots were installed at Argoed Farm, average milk yield in the Holstein herd has increased by 2,000 litres a year, to 9,000 litres, an immediate payback from investing in…

LIVESTOCK

Why autumn lambing is a good fit for mixed farm

Livestock play a central role protecting soil health and fertility at the MacGregor Farming Partnership in Norfolk. Farmer Duncan MacGregor says muck is important, but the key is getting animals…

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…

Practical advice

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PIGS

Post-weaning scour in pigs – causes, signs and treatment

As if the pig sector didn’t need another challenge, the incoming ban of therapeutic levels of in-feed zinc is on the not-too-distant horizon. This is of great concern to many…

DAIRY

5 ways to improve dairy milking routines

Good routines will set up milking for success in the key areas of hygiene, mastitis detection, herd throughput and, arguably the most important, milk flow rates. Together they will improve…

DAIRY

How spring-calvers can prepare for end of bull calf euthanasia

Producing a viable dairy bull calf is a challenge in a system that relies on an efficient cow of smaller stature to maximise milk production from grazed grass on the…

PIGS

Expert advice on zinc alternatives as ban looms

Medicinal levels of zinc oxide in piglet diets have been used for many years to combat post-weaning diarrhoea. However, certain products containing zinc oxide will lose their marketing authorisations in…

LIVESTOCK

5 ways to build on improvements in udder health

Improved environmental management, protocols and breeding for udder health have combined to help lower mastitis rates and antibiotics use. However, farmers could make bigger strides with improved recording of mastitis…

PIGS

Pain relief in pigs: Signs, treatment and care

The ready availability of painkillers licensed for the prevention and alleviation of pain in pigs provides great opportunities for improving their welfare. This is especially so as they mostly tolerate…

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…