Bull Fertility Testing
1 in 5 bulls are sub-fertile and waiting until PD results or calving to find out can prove costly. A fertile bull achieving a 60% conception rate will get 94% of cows in calf within 9 weeks, whereas a sub-fertile bull achieving a 40% conception rate will take 15 weeks to achieve the same at a cost of approximately £6000 per 100 cows in reduced calf finishing weights.
For £100 per bull we can conduct a thorough fertility test to ensure your bull(s) are fertile and fit for use: We perform a full physical health exam including locomotion and feet, examine their reproductive tract both externally and internally, and collect a semen sample which is assessed immediately on site under a microscope to measure semen quality and sperm motility.
Bull testing should ideally be done 6-8 weeks before service to allow time for corrective treatments or for replacements to be sourced if necessary. All bulls should be tested before each service period because successful results one year do not guarantee they will remain fertile in subsequent years. If required we can complete official BCVA bull fertility certificates for insurance or pre-sale purposes.
Pre-Breeding Heifer Visits
Heifer calving problems and newborn calf losses can be dramatically reduced if heifers which are underweight or have small pelvic cross-sectional areas can be identified before service.
At a pre-breeding heifer visit we can weigh your bulling heifers using our electronic weigh bar scales and measure their internal pelvic cross-sectional area using specially designed callipers. The results enable culling decisions to be made pre-service, help prevent calving difficulties and subsequent calf losses, allow replacements to be kept from animals with large pelvic cross-sectional areas, and enable changes to be made to heifer management if bulling weights are sub-optimal.
All our vets carry ultrasound scanners enabling us to perform quick, accurate pregnancy diagnosis on cows and heifers. We advise that "PD’s" are done 6 weeks after the bulls have been removed as this gives us the best chance of giving you accurate calving dates, provides early identification of barren cows, and allows any herd fertility problems to be identified at the earliest opportunity.
We see health planning as much more than just a document to satisfy your beef buyer. A thorough health plan should significantly improve your profits through optimising herd management, controlling disease and eliminating unnecessary costs to your business.
We can arrange your health plan into calendar format so that you have a useful month-to-month document which acts as a reminder for herd treatments & actions. We can also anonymously benchmark your herd’s performance data against national and practice averages to help identify areas for improvement.
Our bespoke health plans are designed to fulfil all requirements of farm assurance & the Red Tractor Scheme.
Diseases like BVD, Leptospirosis, IBR, Neospora & Johnes can have significant detrimental effects on herd profitability through their damaging effects on fertility and cow & calf health.
Thankfully these diseases can be cost-effectively screened for using blood tests, or ear notch samples in the case of BVD, allowing effective control measures, vaccination or eradication policies to be implemented as necessary.
We are more than happy to perform these simple screening tests at TB tests to help minimise additional stress and handling of animals. We recommend these disease screens are performed at least annually so that disease incursions can be quickly identified and dealt with before problems are seen.
Trace Element Profiles
The trace elements most important to cow health and performance include copper, selenium, iodine, cobalt & zinc. The levels of these trace elements vary widely between farms, soil types and forages and deficiencies as well as excesses can be harmful to your herd’s health and fertility.
A simple 6 cow blood & urine test can establish the trace element status of your herd. The testing has quickly paid for itself on several of our farms where deficiencies have been found and appropriately corrected, or where unnecessary supplementation has been avoided.
Parasite Control Plans
We have designed numerous parasite control plans for our farms in accordance with “COWS” (Control Of Worms Sustainably) principles. Our plans cover worms, fluke, lungworm, lice, mites & flies.
As a practice we are committed to using anti-parasitic medicines responsibly and our aim is to identify practical management strategies that you can implement to reduce the need for these products. Always speak to us first before treating your herd as we are best placed to advise whether treatment is actually necessary, and can advise on the most suitable product which may well be a more cost-effective option.
We provide in-house Faecal Egg Count testing with same-day results to aid responsible decision making and can test your herd for wormer resistance.
All our medicines are bought through a buying group enabling us to sell them at very competitive prices. We are commited to using antibiotics & wormers responsibly and are always looking at ways to reduce the need for these drugs on your farm. Please call us first before buying wormers or boluses from mainstream retailers; knowing your farm we can best advise the product needed (or in some cases that a product is not needed at all!) and can often compete on price saving you further money.
Suckler Client Meetings
We aim to run at least one suckler meeting each year to discuss topics of interest and will sometimes ask guest speakers and external industry experts to give talks. We have also formed a suckler herd focus group where farmers meet annually to compare production data to see where improvements can be made for the coming year.