Suckler farmers can” dramatically” improve performance and financial returns by monitoring key breeding indicators in Breedr’s new free feature.
Manual recording is laborious and time-consuming, but farmers can record everything on their phones using the feature, generating automatic reports and easy-to-understand graphics.
The new breeding feature aligns with AHDB Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
According to Breedr, it helps farmers identify the best animals to breed from.
Farmer and Breedr founder, Ian Wheal, commented:
“Genetics affects almost every element of suckler cow performance.”
“By benchmarking, farmers can speed up the rate of genetic improvement – particularly if they are calving at two-years-old.”
“Our free tools enable farmers to analyse the genetic performance of their herd and individual animals quickly and easily.”
“The best place to start is logging when females are bulling. This will create an alert for 20 days later so producers can check to see if they are cycling again.”
“Logging the AI date or when bulls are turned out, and any pregnancy diagnosis results, will automatically calculate and flag the likely calving date.
At calving, you can log the birth in seconds, ready to sync with BCMS. Also, you can enter the calving ease, calf weight and vigour.
Furthermore, linking with the dam and sire, makes it easy to identify the best cows and bulls to use.
You can also keep medical records and activities like disbudding in the app so that all of the animal’s information is in one place.
According to the company, when weaning, you can capture calf weights in just 10 seconds with the Crush Mode tool.
When you have recorded more than one weight, the app will predict future growth rates to help with finishing plans.
“According to AHDB, achieving 10kg higher weaning weights can increase output by an average of £20/head,” he added.
“This can be influenced by a compact calving period; the more calves born in the first three weeks of calving, the older they are at weaning, so the heavier they will be.”
Farmers can use the KPIs to select the most fertile females to breed from. This can result in a tighter calving period and ultimately boosts profitability.
“Significant genetic gains can be made by calving heifers at two-years-old. Not only does the heifer produce more calves over her lifetime, but the farm can also reduce its stocking rate compared with calving at three.”
Efficient suckler cow
Clearly, he added, the main objective of suckler beef farms is to maximise output.
“An efficient suckler cow will calve unassisted, produce one calf per year, wean that calf to 40-50% of her body weight, return in-calf with minimal inputs and have a docile temperament.”
“Recording and subsequently analysing performance and activities at herd and individual level is, therefore, essential to make informed selection and management decisions.”
“Historic data can be uploaded to enable year-on-comparison. Our free KPI reports make it easier than ever to start making data-backed decisions to drive greater genetic advancement,” he concluded.