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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CALVING

US dairyman reveals calving protocols at his 2,800-cow dairy

Implementing strict calving protocols has helped US dairy farmer Don Niles reduce stillbirths from 24% to less than 2% on his 2,800-cow dairy. The vet, who is now co-owner and…

LAMBING

How late lambing system helps farmer supply Co-op contract

Last May, the Co-op switched to selling 100% fresh British lamb and bacon year round. The move made it the first national retailer to sell 100% fresh British meat. Lamb is…

LAMBING

4 ways a Worcs farmer has made indoor lambing easier

A decade ago, Sam Jones from Brookhouse Farm, Redditch, Worcestershire, used to run 2,000 North of England Mules alongside his arable enterprise before he made the decision to cut his…

LIVESTOCK

How a farmer tackled watery mouth without antibiotics

Shropshire sheep and beef farmer James Evans was concerned about the effect the routine use of antibiotics, used to tackle disease at lambing, was having on the health of his…

LIVESTOCK

Using a transition index helps cut days open on dairy unit

Two years of selecting genomic bulls on a five-star transition index has shown each star rating on the Genus ABS Transition Right index is saving 4.8 days open for a…

SHEEP

Welsh farm sheep breeding regime meets market need

Tupping a flock of 3,000 hill ewes with homebred rams is enabling a Welsh livestock farm to produce lambs with the uniform conformation sought by buyers. Up to 20 rams…

Practical advice

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HUSBANDRY

Video: Step-by-step guide to best sheep-shearing technique

A good shearing technique can add value to a fleece, while correct handling and control of the sheep protects the shearer’s back from injury. With farmers now finding it difficult…

HUSBANDRY

Picture and video guide: How to roll a fleece correctly

Handle a fleece well and rolling it correctly can reap rewards at the grading stage. Fiona Reuter, the BWMB’s Welsh regional co-ordinator, who organises shearing courses across Wales, takes Farmers…

LIVESTOCK

4 steps to ensure heifers are on track to calve at 24 months

We all need to build more resilient businesses in this tough world of market volatility and the starting point on all dairy farms is the birth of the calf. What…

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

6 ways livestock farmers can improve carcass eating quality

Carcass defects and poor eating quality of meat cost the livestock sector millions of pounds a year, yet simple steps could be taken on farm that would minimise losses. Research…

LIVESTOCK

15 key steps to achieve best-practice drying-off protocol

Clinical mastitis costs the dairy industry a huge amount and it’s critical from an animal welfare and production point of view that it is prevented where possible and detected and…

SHEEP

9 tips for minimising lamb production costs

As margins get squeezed, keeping a lid of lamb production costs is key to allow for profits to be made. Below, AHDB knowledge transfer senior manager Katie Thorley and Farming…

Insights

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

6 ways livestock farmers can improve carcass eating quality

Carcass defects and poor eating quality of meat cost the livestock sector millions of pounds a year, yet simple steps could be taken on farm that would minimise losses. Research…

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…