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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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why switch to autumn block calving is improving resilience   

The drive to create a dairy system that can cope with fluctuations in the milk price, improve profitability and provide a better work-life balance has seen a Yorkshire farm transition…

SHEEP

How a Lincs sheep farm expanded and diversified income

A progressive approach to flock health, combined with hard work and savvy marketing, has seen a Lincolnshire couple expand their sheep business and income. Chris and Louise Elkington of Gelston,…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How farmer gets 11,000 litres from grazed Holstein herd

Wiltshire farmer Robert Mallett and his wife Maria are defying convention by producing nearly 11,000 litres of milk from their autumn-calving herd of grass-fed cows. Like most high-yielding herds, Mr…

SHEEP

How next generation are learning to farm without subsidies

The sheep enterprise at Glynllifon Agricultural College has undergone radical change as it braces itself and its students for the uncertainty that lies ahead post Brexit. Farm manager Rhodri Manod…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How boluses helped suckler herd reduce calf losses by 9%

The use of smart bolus technology to identify exactly which cows are calving and target labour accordingly has helped reduce calf losses by 9% at Bowhill Farming. With 500 suckler…

DAIRY

How Hampshire dairy has climbed to top 5 for milk production

Consolidating cow numbers has helped one Hampshire herd shoot up 14 places in the NMR annual production report, to clinch fifth place. In what was a tough year for dairy…

Practical advice

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

What to consider when planning a compact calving system

A key aim for any beef farmer is to produce a live calf from every cow each year. Compact calving periods are therefore vital for a productive and profitable herd.…

FARROWING

Farrowing management advice for stockpeople

Piglet survival and sow health are likely to be compromised if a sound system is not in place during farrowing. Therefore, stockpeople need to ensure that attention to detail is…

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…

Insights

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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…

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…