Know How / Breeding and fertility

Good breeding and fertility management underpin profitable milk production in dairy herds, good beef carcass quality and efficient lamb production. Get the latest on cow and ewe fertility, including genetics, EBVS, heat detection, artificial insemination (AI), scanning and calving intervals.

Case studies

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DAIRY

Why one dairy farmer has switched from Holsteins to Jerseys

A switch from milking Holstein cows to Jerseys is providing a Scottish dairy producer with a more stable milk price and a predicted better bottom line, while also allowing the…

DAIRY

Gold Cup winners 2003: Where are they now?

The Sanders family have completely overhauled their business since winning the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup. The family, famed for turning out 120 cows with a 100t lifetime production – the most…

FEED AND NUTRITION

How a dairy farm lifted pregnancy to 31.5% through nutrition

Aberystwyth University’s farm manager Stephen Jones has increased pregnancy rates from 20.8% to 31.5% by improving forage quality and dry matter (DM) intakes. At the same time, he has reduced…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Lincs flock makes five tweaks for ewe lamb success

Upping ram power and moving lambs back on to grass at scanning are some of the adjustments a Lincolnshire farm hopes will make breeding ewe lambs successful. This autumn will…

SHEEP

How outcrossing achieved table-topping growth rates

Selecting leading proven terminal sires has resulted in lambs that finished 30 days faster on average for a Yorkshire sheep breeder. George Fell, who runs a flock of 500 Meatlinc…

SHEEP

How sheep dairy new entrant has doubled size of flock

A new entrant to dairy sheep farming has doubled his flock size less than a year after buying his first ewes, amid strengthening demand for milk. Huw Jones secured a…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

A step-by-step guide to pig heats and insemination

The performance of a breeding herd can be assessed in many ways – be it pigs born alive, pigs weaned, or litter weight weaned. But whatever the metric, that level…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

5 tips on selecting and breeding beef replacements

Genetics is one of the biggest influences on cow performance, so breeding the right type of cow to suit your system and meet your end market is key. At a…

BEEF

How and what to record to inform suckler cow culling

Every commercial farm has its own aims and parameters, but there are some key breeding goals and culling criteria to drive suckler herd performance and profit. This is according to…

CALVING

How to manage and minimise difficult calvings in cows

The two main calving problems associated with cows are lack of uterine contractions and incorrect position of the calf. Through improved management and appropriate intervention, the negative impacts can be…

SHEEP

Replacement options for flocks: breeding or buying

To maintain a healthy and productive flock, whether expanding or not, inevitably means you will need replacements each year. For some farmers, buying in will be the preferred option while…

YOUNGSTOCK MANAGEMENT

Advice for ensuring heifers are the correct weight after calving

Too many heifers are still less than 85% of mature weight after calving because farmers try to "guesstimate" weights, says farm consultant Andy Dodd. Many farmers say they have had…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How Welsh sheep producers are improving hill genetics

Welsh Mountain sheep producers from across Wales have joined forces to raise the commercial standard of regional types of hill sheep. The ProHill producer group is the biggest collaborative breeding…

LIVESTOCK DISEASES

BVD vaccination can lift milk yields, trial shows

Vaccinating dairy cows against the bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus can lift milk yields by up to 1 litre/day, a recent global study has shown. A total of 1,463 cows…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

5 tips from NZ to increase sheep flock returns by 30%

UK sheep farmers can achieve a 30% increase in flock gross margins by adopting five principles used in New Zealand, a consultant claims. Murray Rohloff says while benefits will vary…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Lim-gate: What next for EBVs?

The exposure of errors relating to the registration of birth dates and parentage of cattle last year brought into question the legitimacy and accuracy of data feeding into Estimated Breeding…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

August bull proofs: Genomic sires showcase performance ability

Young genomic sires are proving their ability to perform, making up the entire top 10 of proven Holstein sires in the August bull proof run released today (13 August) by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How Ram Compare could add £5 to lamb value

A national terminal sire sheep evaluation project has identified rams that can finish faster and at better grades on nine commercial sheep farms across the UK. Over the past four…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why calving ease should be suckler herd priority

Selecting bulls with a positive calving ease estimated breeding value (EBV) should be a priority for suckler producers who are aiming to improve herd efficiency, a study has shown. Researchers…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Benefits of cross-breeding dairy and is it right for you?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. It differs from a similar study…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Livestock gene editing: Current rules and potential benefits

The potential to make our own legislation after leaving the EU could provide scope for gene editing of livestock to become mainstream in the UK. Gene editing changes a precise…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Sheep AI trial shows frozen semen possibilities

Farmers wishing to improve conception rates by using cervical insemination in combination with frozen semen could learn from a recent Farming Connect study. Cervical AI using fresh semen is not…