Know How / Breeding and fertility

Case studies

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DAIRY

How milking robot data saved a dairy farmer £15,000 on feed

When robotic milker George Lester scaled back concentrate feed for his late lactating milkers from 5-6kg to 1kg a cow a day to reduce milk production two weeks before drying…

SHEEP

How Yorkshire farm is using EID to find most productive ewes

A Texel-cross flock is trying to improve future profitability by using electronic identification (EID) data to select for lines that can wean two 35kg lambs at 90 days. The Wilsons…

BEEF

How beef farmers globally are adapting to survive

With increasing market volatility and extreme weather, how can UK beef producers adapt to survive? We speak to three beef breeders from Australia and the US to find out how…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Switch to wool-shedding sheep benefits Exmoor farmer

The purchase of a small number of Wiltshire Horn ewes to graze some coastal ground for the Higher-Level Entry Scheme led Exmoor farmer David Knight to change his whole flock…

DAIRY

Are Arla producers ready for new rules on calves?

The “Every calf has a value” (ECHAV) scheme has been a beacon in the industry since it was announced in 2019, with other processors now looking at how they can…

SHEEP

Australian flock uses NZ genetics to lift rearing by 20%

Switching to a self-replacing composite breed, selected for early growth and outdoor lambing, has boosted productivity on an Australian mixed farm. The Greenline breed replaced the Merino-Leicester crossbreed 10 years…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Advice on managing body condition in cattle pre-calving

Weather conditions in recent years have tended to become hotter and wetter, or hotter with drought, producing variable grazing conditions around the UK. As a result, cattle have been approaching…

SHEEP

Guide to preventing enzootic abortion in ewes

Enzootic abortion, also known as chlamydial abortion, is caused by infection with the bacteria Chlamydophila abortus. The bacteria damages the placenta and reduces the transfer of nutrients to the growing lamb…

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…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How genomic testing of heifers can improve profitability

Genomic testing replacement heifers has a cost benefit of £19.39 a heifer, according to a three-year study involving nine Welsh dairy farms. The project compared the difference between estimated breeding…

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…