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Stackyard News Mar 08

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New Manual on Feeding Suckler Cows and Calves

EBLEX has published a new manual on feeding suckler cows and calves, as part of its Beef Better Returns Programme.


suckler cows

“To cover her costs, a suckler cow needs to calve on practically the same day every year of her breeding life,” says EBLEX scientist Dr Liz Genever. “The 80-day period from calving to conception is crucial to maintaining a tight annual calving pattern.”

At present, for every 100 cows/heifers put to the bull in the UK suckler herd; just 88 calves are born alive. This drain on profits results from embryonic losses, abortion and still births, but above all from poor conception.

“Fertility is the key to profitable suckler cow production,” Dr Genever explains. “Producers have got to get as many of their cows back in calf as possible, around the optimal conception date 11 to 12 weeks after calving. Achieving this relies on carefully managed body condition and appropriate feeding throughout the year.”

The new manual explains the importance of nutrition throughout the annual cycle of the suckler cow - highlighting ways to minimise costs while optimising fertility, calving ease and milk yield.

This easy-to-read booklet also includes useful information on feeding the cow and calf, preparing cows and heifers for calving, weaning strategies, dry cow management and fattening cull cows. It is available free of charge to English levy payers by contacting the BRP team on 0870 241 8829 or

link EBLEX National Producer Conference 2008
link Planning to Make the Most of Lamb Exports
link Scary Blue Tongue Outlook for Welsh Sheep Farmers

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