Herd Health Project Sees Improved Cattle Fertility

Written by John Swire from Farm Business

A Welsh farm has seen great improvement in herd fertility since joining a health project being delivered by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Working proactively with their vet on various aspects of the farm’s health priorities as part of the Stoc+ project, Mr and Mrs Jones from Newtown have continued to focus and drill down on the herd’s conception rates.

Stoc+, a flock and herd health project led by HCC, is one strand of the Red Meat Development Programme, a five-year Welsh Government and European Union-funded initiative aiming to enhance the red meat sector in Wales. The project works with famers and their vets to promote proactive flock and herd health management.

Gwyn and Kathy Jones run the farm with their children Olivia and Edward in Kerry, near Newtown and have been part of the Stoc+ project since 2019. The farm is made up of around 45 cattle and 500 breeding ewes.

Kathy explains, “Cattle fertility has been an ongoing discussion for us on the farm, but being part of Stoc+ has allowed us to continue to keep track of the issues that could affect the herd’s conception rate.

“Since joining the project, we have looked at the trace element status of the herd because the calving pattern was slow. By working proactively with our vets, we have been able to conduct further testing ensuring a tighter calving interval.”

Oli Hodgkinson from Trefaldwyn Veterinary Practice has been working with Mr and Mrs Jones to improve the herd fertility. Oli notes, “There are a few key points to consider if like Gwyn and Kathy, you are looking to improve the herd fertility.

“To improve conception rates within the herd, ensure that the cows’ body condition score meets targets throughout the year and that a good health status is maintained. Selecting a healthy bull is also important and checking for diseases and conducting bull MOT prior to or immediately after purchasing may be beneficial.

“The herd’s nutrition shouldn’t be ignored. Check that the cows are receiving the vitamins and minerals that are needed to conceive and carry a healthy calf. If you are looking to improve conception rates on the farm, talk to your vet for specific advice related to your herd.”

Stoc+ is one of three 5-year projects in the Red Meat Development Programme which is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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