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Welsh beef farmers encouraged to concede fewer penalties and score more goals

Jun 21 2016

As the Welsh team make their mark on football fields in France, beef farmers in Wales are advised on ways to improve the performance of their herds.

The latest Market Bulletin produced by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) uses data released by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) to highlight a number of farm-level changes and substitutions that could lead to increased production and profitability for farmers in Wales.

These include revised calving intervals; calving heifers as early as possible; avoiding difficult calvings when selecting bulls and calving heifers; cow longevity; and meeting market and processor requirements.

Average calving intervals for beef cows on holdings in Wales and England stood at 428 and 424 days respectively in 2015; both considerably more than the desired 365 days.

“A long calving interval can cause multiple herd management problems and impact on the profitability of a beef enterprise,” explains HCC’s Industry Information Executive, John Richards. “Beef farmers are encouraged to reduce calving intervals and aim for shorter calving periods and easier cow and calf management.

“Beef producer prices have come under increasing pressure over the last six months, with many farmers looking at the viability of their enterprise. We are starting to see a slight uplift in price, driven by reduced imports, but we are still off target.

“Producers are therefore advised to contact their proposed market to ensure that they meet their requirements.”

BCMS data for 2015 also suggests that the average age of first-time calvers in Wales was 1,022 days (or 33 months) – 5 days more than in England. The figures also show that the average age of death for beef dams on Welsh holdings was 9 years old, producing an average 5.5 calves in their lifetime. In some cases, these cows could have produced at least one more calf; producers should therefore look to calve their heifers as early as possible to increase calf production and herd profitability. 

More information can be found in the June edition of the Market Bulletin on the HCC website - http://hccmpw.org.uk/publications/corporate/market_bulletins1/2016 - and in a video bulletin on HCC’s YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVwhFHYeenQ.

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