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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LIVESTOCK

How a 93% calf sold figure helped carbon efficiency

A calving percentage of 95% and a mortality rate of 2% are helping Robert, Bob and Lucy Forrest, Preston Farm, Duns, manage greenhouse gas emissions in their beef herd. By…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why Limousin breeders have switched to Hereford

The feed wagon coming into the yard each month has been the main driver for renowned Limousin  breeders David and Maggie Kelly to completely change their breeding policy. The pair…

DAIRY

How £2.5m dairy unit is improving dry cow management

Good management during the dry period is crucial to promote cow welfare and ensure the profitability of dairy cows in the following lactation. The College of Agriculture Food & Rural…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How an Irish farmer is achieving in-calf rate of 91% with AI

Matthew Murphy is farm manager at Newford Farm, Athenry in County Galway, which was set up as a demonstration farm in 2015 by Dawn Meats and the Irish agriculture and…

BEEF

Video: Switch to Stabiliser suckler herd brings cost savings

A farmer who transformed his suckler herd from continental beef breeds to a pedigree Stabiliser herd has made significant savings in costs and labour. We visited mixed farmer Richard Roderick…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How sexed semen is paying off for Shropshire dairy farmer

Fertility is the main profit driver for any block calving business, so it’s little surprise that concerns over conception rates put many off using sexed semen for fear of extending…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Advice on using dairy teaser bulls

As the breeding season in spring block calving systems approaches, dairy farmers will be weighing up the pros and cons of running vasectomised bulls with their herds to improve heat…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to assess and improve dairy herd genetics

Making the right decisions on breeding strategy can mean the difference between profit and loss for dairy farmers. Even with the best management, there is a limit to animal performance,…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to select a sire for your suckler herd using EBVs

Selecting a sire with the right genetics can have a major impact on both performance and profitability of suckler herds. To help farmers narrow down their decisions when it comes…

DAIRY

4 ways top dairy farmers produce 1,000kg of MS a cow

Recent figures show the top 15% of Kite Consulting’s clients are producing between 840-1,000kg of milk solids (MS) a cow a year. Genetic data and management strategies were assessed from…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

6 ways to prevent stale dairy cows

Getting into the habit of giving cows numerous chances to get pregnant can lead to more animals with extended lactations and a negative fertility cycle that is hard to break.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

4 steps to assessing your voluntary waiting period

Voluntary Waiting Periods – the interval postpartum when producers refrain from breeding cows – are typically 42 days on most UK dairy farms. But anecdotal data from 16 high-production herds…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How the dairy industry is making genetic improvements

Dairy producers have made rapid genetic progress in recent years, with gains in milk, fat and protein production and a transformation in the appearance of cows, each heavily influenced by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Trial shows huge merit of using EBVs with beef herds

Using bulls with a higher terminal index can be worth more than £80 a finished calf, according to new research carried out at Harper Adams University. Using Hereford bulls, the…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

What changes are Holstein UK making to type classification?

Four new traits have been introduced to Holstein UK’s type classification service. Previously, classifiers scored cows on four composite areas covering 21 linear type traits (see "Old scoring system" below).…

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…