Know How / Breeding and fertility

Good breeding and fertility management underpin profitable milk production in the dairy herd. Keep up with the latest information on dairy cow fertility, from genetics and genomics to heat detection, artificial insemination (AI), pregnancy diagnosis and calving intervals.

Case studies

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SHEEP

Performance recording worth £5 a lamb to Dorset breeder

Poll Dorset breeder Graham Langford abandoned the show ring in favour of focusing on Signet recording. He credits the move with increasing the value of his prime lambs by £5…

LIVESTOCK

Finishing results reveal high reliability of EBVs

Repeating a trial comparing the performance of terminal beef sires has shown estimated breeding values (EBVs) are highly reliable, with higher genetic merit progeny outperforming calves bred from bulls with…

SHEEP

How young breeder runs 90 pedigree ewes and full-time job

Good fertility and the compact lambing afforded by the Poll Dorset breed is helping a young pedigree breeder grow flock numbers while continuing to work off farm. Somerset young farmer…

LIVESTOCK

Genomics: Perspectives from dairy farms in the UK and USA

Since the genomic test was made available to commercial producers in 2013, UK dairy producers have had the ability to test females and use genomic bull semen within their herds…

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Commercial focus improves sales and EBVs in Angus herd

Compact calving periods, performance recording, forage-based feeding and a strict culling policy for locomotion and temperament are making a Scottish Angus herd increasingly sought after at home and abroad. The…

PIGS

The challenges of pig farming in South Africa

South Africa, a land known for its tropical weather and miles of dry terrain, is hardly conducive to pig farming, with everything from temperature fluctuation to farm security to consider.…

Practical advice

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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…

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Q&A: Advice for genomic testing calves

Genomic testing is becoming a growing trend to help UK farmers select the best herd replacements. Testing heifers is where real gains can be made. It can also help eliminate…

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12 steps to keep heifer growth rates on track

With heifer growth rates jeopardised by late spring turnout, it has never been more important to allocate priority grazing on the best-quality pastures for underweight replacements. Ideally, heifers in grass-based…

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How to decide if autumn block calving is right for you

All-year-round calving systems can be very profitable but, if not optimised, users may benefit from the efficiencies and focus of switching to autumn block calving, believes AHDB Dairy. Currently, 81%…

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9 tips on buying a bull and getting him off to a good start

Buying a bull can be a relatively straight-forward process, but making sure that bull gets cows in calf in a compact breeding season for several years is more difficult. There…

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Glossary: terms used in dairy fertility data

There’s a bewildering array of terms used for benchmarking fertility. As data becomes more important in achieving efficiency, many of the words and phrases used may be misinterpreted or are…

Insights

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PIGS

Scientists produce pigs resistant to respiratory syndrome

Scientists have produced pigs that can resist porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) by changing their genetic code. PRRS is an endemic disease and costs the pig industry about £1.75bn/year…

LIVESTOCK

Q&A: Advice for genomic testing calves

Genomic testing is becoming a growing trend to help UK farmers select the best herd replacements. Testing heifers is where real gains can be made. It can also help eliminate…

LIVESTOCK

Finishing results reveal high reliability of EBVs

Repeating a trial comparing the performance of terminal beef sires has shown estimated breeding values (EBVs) are highly reliable, with higher genetic merit progeny outperforming calves bred from bulls with…

LIVESTOCK

Fertility Focus: What can UK herds learn from US dairy systems?

Westpoint Farm vet Matt Gue visited America last summer as part of a short study tour funded by the Farm Link Travel Bursary. During his stay, he spent time in…

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How to use dairy genomics to full potential

Genomics is a tool that can be used to really drive the profitability of dairy systems, yet it’s still not being used to its full potential by many producers. US…

SHEEP

How EBVs can help hill farmers meet lamb market needs

A declining market in light lamb specifications means hill farmers need to adapt to meet new demands. This is according to geneticist Janet Roden from Aberystwyth, who believes genetic improvement…

LIVESTOCK

4 messages for the dairy industry

More than 15,000 farmers attended the biannual Teagasc Moorepark Research Open day in Fermoy, County Cork, on 4 July to learn about the latest research being conducted at the centre. …

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Breeder outlines a new direction for a better beef industry

The beef industry requires an urgent change of direction with emphasis put on breeding and feed efficiencies to counter the effects of continuing commodity price volatility and uncertainty over farm…

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Finishing performance of terminal sires compared

Calves sired by bulls with higher terminal indices record heavier carcass weights resulting in returns worth an additional £45/animal when compared to progeny of bulls with lower genetic merit. Harper…

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Sire selection one of easiest ways to improve fertility

Keeping records and making better efforts to select the right sire is key to helping beef producers improve fertility and increase profitability on their farm, according to scientists. Research by…

LIVESTOCK MARKETING

Target daily liveweight gains to cut beef finishing times

Setting strict targets for daily liveweight gains and getting rid of animals that are not hitting the grade is helping beef finisher Meilir Jones keep a tight rein on costs…

PIGS

How pig breeding tech could help cut disease-related costs

Breeding technologies which help pigs become genetically healthier and less susceptible to illness could help the UK pork sector reduce antibiotics use and save millions of pounds every year. Losses in…