Know How / Breeding and fertility

Case studies

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BEEF

How a suckler and sheep unit aims for 10% return after rent

A young Northumberland farmer is staying profit-focused on the family unit by aiming to generate enough cash to theoretically buy the farm. Covering a commercial rent and 10% interest after…

BEEF

How cow leasing helped grow suckler business

A part-time Aberdeenshire beef and sheep producer has become a full-time farmer by using a cow leasing arrangement to help build a suckler herd. Describing himself as a “fourth-generation farmer…

LIVESTOCK

How breeders are using methane test in wool-shedding project

A farming duo has added methane testing to its breeding programme in a quest to develop low-input sheep with low methane emissions. Shropshire sheep and arable farmer Hayden Woolley and…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How suckler unit trebled and added pedigree Angus herd

Harnessing fertile, easy-calving suckler cow genetics and having an open mind about working with others have helped a suckler farmer treble stock numbers and add a pedigree enterprise to his…

BEEF

How a hardy herd successfully outwinters in Outer Hebrides

Hardy, maternal genetics are ensuring a Scottish family can trust their cows to successfully winter and calve unaided on an island, only being checked on during low tide.  The Ardbhan…

DAIRY

How milk solids increased from fine-tuning genetic selection

Building up a spring-calving herd that produces a large proportion of its milk from grazed grass was a complete departure from David Homer’s previous way of breeding and farming his…

Practical advice

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SHEEP

How lambing data helps closed flocks run smoother

A desire to safeguard flock health has seen a recent trend for closed flocks. This has been helped by the ability to monitor individual ewe and sire performance through ear…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Tips for ensuring cattle semen is stored safely and cleanly

How clean is the farm’s semen flask? Artificial insemination (AI) training, a starter pack including flask, guns and gloves, and a liquid nitrogen contract will fail to generate a return…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Advice on how to maintain a tight calving block

Achieving a tight calving block is key to the success of a block-calving system. Typically, farms will aim for a calving period of nine to 12 weeks, with 75-80% of…

DAIRY

How to have a successful dairy transition – vet’s top tips

A tailored dry-cow ration that delivers easy calving, controls milk fever and makes high-quality colostrum is the best start to a successful transition period. Further measures include monitoring body condition…

DAIRY

4 ways to breed your dairy cows to cut feed bills

Soaring costs of milk production and squeezed margins are turning many dairy producers’ attention to cutting input costs. And with feed representing the largest variable cost, this bill is a…

PIGS

7 tips on maintaining sow body condition

Managing sows so they neither gain nor lose too much body condition between parities should be the ambition of every pig breeder, as this single measure directly impacts on a…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why genetics are critical for improving dairy cow fertility

Dairy cow fertility is at the heart of herd profitability, driving milk yields, cutting interventions and improving cow lifespans. Evidence supporting the role of genetics in improving fertility has accumulated…

LIVESTOCK

High-yielding herds top efficiency stakes

High-yielding dairy herds are more feed-efficient than low-yielding herds, but improvements must be made in cow fertility and longevity to lower methane emissions. A study of 21 farms across five…

SHEEP

Why "breed snobbery" could challenge liveweight sales

A desire to change the system, lower the cost base and move towards self-replacing maternal genetics has left some businesses in the cold when selling liveweight, Farmers Weekly has heard.…

LIVESTOCK

How rising costs threaten future of Icelandic sheep farming

Tough and resilient – the farmers in Iceland are much like the sheep they have bred to cope with the rugged terrain and sub-Arctic winter conditions. But many, like 44-year-old…

DAIRY

Why milking robots are a good fit for Iceland’s dairies

About half of all dairy cows in Iceland are now milked through robots, with the fast-paced adoption of technology allowing farmers to enjoy a more laid-back way of life. With…

BEEF

Why clear identification of polled genetics is needed

Disbudding calves is a challenging and expensive job and, as herds scale up and calving patterns tighten, it can put huge financial and time pressure on beef farmers. But, while…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

Why animal health is key to improving sustainability

As farm vets working in practice in the UK, we have an essential role in ensuring that farming is part of the solution to the climate crisis. Vets are in…

LIVESTOCK

The benefits of investing in a maternal ram

Advances in sheep production systems including flock identification, record-keeping, ultrasound scanning, handling systems and computing power have transformed our ability to use information to identify and breed from sheep with…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why big cows are inefficient and how to breed smaller stock

Cows are getting bigger. UK dairy farmers are feeding and managing the equivalent of nearly five extra cows for every 100 in their herds, compared with 30 years ago. And…

SHEEP

EBV proven rams can add £6 a lamb, project shows

Sheep farmers could increase ram values by more than £900 by investing in proven estimated breeding values (EBVs). This is according to the six-year results from the RamCompare project, published…