Scottish Specialist schools on Cow Fertility

Media Release
Thursday 5th April 2012
Scottish Specialist schools on Suckled Cow
Bodmin Moor Livestock Initiative (BMLI) recently held a Suckled Cow Fertility
event where the guest speaker was the distinguished Beef specialist from the
Scottish Agricultural Colleges, Ian Pritchard.
The event attracted a large number of moorland farmers all with an interest in
improving the understanding of the diseases that cause the most damage to the
fertility of the suckled cow.
The group was challenged to identify their individual calving percentages and Mr
Pritchard suggested that just a 7% rise in calving percentages within the nation’s
suckled herd would generate an extra 55,000 calves - accounting to a value of
over £65 million to the beef industry.
With demand outstripping supply, the need to improve calving percentages has
never been greater.
In his presentation Mr Pritchard classified the reasons for poor calving
percentages as three main areas; high barren cow rates, cows slow to calve and
calf mortality management.
These constraints could be improved significantly
with more knowledge and better awareness of suckled cow health.
He suggested there were 5 major principles to successful fertility:
Managing the cow’s condition
Managing the bull’s soundness, fertility and calving ease
Managing heifer’s condition to hit bulling weight
Managing the herd health – keeping out disease
Avoiding difficult calving
He identified why disease control was so important and its effect on production
causing infertility, reduced longevity, lower resistance to other diseases and
calves/cow deaths.
Mr Pritchard continued his interesting and interactive presentation by introducing
the SAC web based suckled herd fertility benchmarking and diagnostic service,
called Fertbench. It allowed farmers, vets and beef consultants throughout the
country to monitor and improve herd fertility using readily available data.
Herds could then be benchmarked year on year or against a range of criteria
such as breed, region, herd type, calving period, beef group and vet practise.
Herd analysis can solve problems such as fewer barren cows, fewer
replacements, heavier calves to sell and solving the problems that could rumble
from one year to the next. This action could significantly improve profitability and
increase the herd’s sustainability. All producers that attended found the
presentation extremely beneficial and agreed they would act on the information
they were given to improve the efficiency of their suckled herds.
The host farmer Derek Northey remarked after the presentation “Herd Health
and fertility has never been more important than now to increase the
profitability of your herd.”
For further information, please give the BMLI team a call to discuss improving
the fertility of your suckled cows. (Tel: 01208 892803)
Notes to Editors
Bodmin Moor Livestock Initiative
The Bodmin Moor Livestock Initiative is part of a wider South West Uplands Initiative.
Funded by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) the project’s role is to
work with all those that have an interest in livestock production, to develop and deliver a
strategic action plan for continued growth in sustainability in the livestock sector. They
also work with the industry to help them access the funding and support available from
the RDPE. BMLI is managed and delivered by Cornwall Development Company.
Cornwall Development Company
Cornwall Development Company Ltd is the economic development company for Cornwall
Council and its mission is to achieve sustainable prosperity for all in Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly. For more information visit or
contact: Kirsty Miles - Corporate PR & Press Communications Coordinator
01872 322924 /