April 15, 2019

Draperstown Suckler Business Development Group discuss the importance of herd fertility

The Draperstown Suckler Group met recently at Mulligans Moneynenagh, to discuss the importance of good herd fertility management on overall farm profitability.

John Moore, Senior Adviser CAFRE discussing the importance of good herd fertility management on overall farm profitability at Draperstown BDG meeting

Hosts for the evening were James McGillian and his father Jimmy who run a small suckler herd and sheep flock on their hill farm near Draperstown, alongside an off farm business.

On the night all members of the group received their herd’s Cognos fertility report, which summarised the Calving Index and individual Calving Intervals for cows in their herd. It also highlighted the length of time each herd took to get first calved heifers calved again and the calving spread of the herds, both important elements of running an efficient herd. This created a lot of discussion within the group. Members were asked to estimate the cost to a herd’s output on a per day basis for each day’s slippage beyond the target herd index of 370 days. This helped to demonstrate the impact of poor performance on individual farms.

As the report is confidential and specific to each farmer’s herd, detailed discussion took place to assess the key elements of suckler herd management that impact on fertility such as cow nutrition, herd health, genetics and management of cows at calving.

Each farmer was able to identify issues and areas for improvement within their own system highlighted by the report. They then came up with actions to address the issues for the new breeding year.

The Business Development Group scheme is part funded by the EU NIRDP 2014-2020.

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