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

See all

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

Texel tup breeder works towards forage-only system

A Texel flock on the Llŷn Peninsula is one year into the process of switching its tup-rearing system to one based on forage and performance recording. Dafydd Jones of Cefn Caer…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How the Montbeliarde breed adds value to a dairy business

A switch from Holstein cows to breeding pure Montbeliardes has resulted in better fertility, milk constituents, cow health and calf and cull cow value. For dairy farmer Michael Wilson of…

SHEEP

How a farmer is improving growth and conformation of sheep

The Cernyw flock of performance-recorded Bluefaced Leicesters is lifting Mule sale weights for its ram buyers by placing a strong emphasis on performance recording and ramping up its ram genetic…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How a Hereford breeder is increasing cow efficiency

A Scottish Borders farming family has seen a 15% increase in the number of cows weaning 50% of their weight in the past 10 years. ­­­­ The Wilson family of…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How new entrants raised pig conception and weaning weights

Simple tips learned through a training course have enabled one pig farming couple to boost sow conception rates, raise weaning weights and cut finishing times by 10 days a pig.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How beef farmer is achieving gross margin of £370 a cow

Running a profitable, low-cost suckler beef business is no mean feat, with AHDB Farmbench figures suggesting the middle 50% of producers are making a gross profit per cow put to…

Practical advice

See all

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Tips on feeding and cow comfort to improve fertility

Farmers could realise an extra 500-1,500kg of milk a cow by improving transition management. A key factor is feeding because the hormone changes a cow experiences at calving reduce appetite.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Fertility advice for autumn-calving dairy herds

Practising farm vet Dave Gilbert, who has 13 years’ experience working with block-calving herds, says the first steps are working out when you want to start, how long you want…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

Advice on selecting flock replacements

Ewe productivity is linked directly to flock profitability so selecting replacements is crucial to future performance. Foot and udder health, the condition of teeth and mouth and overall body condition…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Vet Viewpoint: Advice on dairy heat stress and Johne's

Unsurprisingly, the heatwave has raised issues for vets across the UK. Rob Davies from Camarthenshire and David McCrea from Cumbria are both warning farmers to beware of heat stress and…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to combat heat stress in cattle to protect fertility

The hot and dry summer is making fertility more challenging, with food shortages and animals more likely to suffer from heat stress. In the latest edition of Fertility Focus, Ricardo…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Advice for rearing heifers from weaning to calving

In the UK 36% of heifers are 30 months or older at their first calving. But in order to optimise fertility and milk production from these animals, the target should…

Insights

See all

LIVESTOCK

CT scanning set to influence terminal and maternal traits

Computerised tomography (CT) scanning has demonstrated its value in sheep carcass improvements and could be used to play a role in lambing ease prediction. A range of measurements such as…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

LIVESTOCK

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

DAIRY

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. …

BEEF

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

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…