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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SHEEP

How a Welsh hill flock improved market returns and cut costs

Making sweeping changes to management systems on a hard hill farm was out of the question for the Jones family when considering how to add value to their flock. Instead…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How a Charolais herd is improving its maternal traits

Investing in easy-calving bulls has brought significant gains in the maternal figures of the pedigree Charolais herd at Falleninch Farm, Stirling, with their self-replacing index lifting by 9.8 index points…

CALVING

US dairyman reveals calving protocols at his 2,800-cow dairy

Implementing strict calving protocols has helped US dairy farmer Don Niles reduce stillbirths from 24% to less than 2% on his 2,800-cow dairy. The vet, who is now co-owner and…

ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

How one sheep farm benefits at sales from 'gold-plus' standard

When Andrew and Jan Walton present their latest crop of performance-recorded Charollais rams and ewes for sale this month, there will be no mistaking those with the highest genetic merit.…

SHEEP

2018 FW Awards: Sheep Farmer of the Year finalists

Each of the three finalists in the 2018 Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year category are well-positioned to meet the challenges of Brexit. They have developed profitable and sustainable…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Beef farm targets five herd KPIs to help cut costs

Grassland management and genetics are key focus areas for tenant farmer Guy Prudom, who wishes to reduce his cost of production/kg of liveweight from 328p/kg to 250p/kg.  Mr Prudom runs…

Practical advice

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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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Pelvic measuring cuts assisted calvings and calf losses

Dismissing heifers with suboptimal pelvic size before breeding has helped more than halve assisted calvings from 20% of the total to 9% and cut calf losses from 8.6% to 3%…

LIVESTOCK

4 steps to ensure heifers are on track to calve at 24 months

We all need to build more resilient businesses in this tough world of market volatility and the starting point on all dairy farms is the birth of the calf. What…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Q&A: Advice for genomic testing calves

Genomic testing is becoming a growing trend to help UK farmers select the best herd replacements. Testing heifers is where real gains can be made. It can also help eliminate…

FEED AND NUTRITION

12 steps to keep heifer growth rates on track

With heifer growth rates jeopardised by late spring turnout, it has never been more important to allocate priority grazing on the best-quality pastures for underweight replacements. Ideally, heifers in grass-based…

Insights

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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…

LIVESTOCK

The future of pig breeding: 2030 and beyond

When it comes to developments in the pig sector, selective breeding and estimated breeding values are held up as two of the technologies which revolutionised the industry. However, the latest…