Suckler producers can dramatically improve performance and financial returns by monitoring key breeding indicators – but manual recording is laborious and time consuming.
Now, farmers can record everything on their phone using a new feature on the free Breedr app, which generates automatic reports and easy-to-understand graphics.
The new breeding feature aligns with AHDB Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and helps farmers to identify the best animals to breed from, whether that’s producing beef calves to finish or heifer replacements.
Farmer and Breedr founder Ian Wheal said: “Genetics affects almost every element of suckler cow performance, and by benchmarking farmers can speed up the rate of genetic improvement – particularly if they are calving at two years old.
“Our free tools enable farmers to analyse the genetic performance of their herd and individual animals quickly and easily.”
The best place to start is logging when females are bulling – this will create an alert for 20 days later so producers can check to see if they’re cycling again. Logging the AI date or when bulls are turned out, as well as any pregnancy diagnosis results, will automatically calculate and flag the likely calving date.
Mr Wheal said: “At calving, you can log the birth in seconds ready to sync with BCMS, and enter the calving ease, calf weight and vigour – by linking with the dam and sire, this makes it easy to identify the best cows and bulls to use.
“Medicine records and activities like disbudding can also be kept in the app, so that all of the animal’s information is in one place.”
When weaning, calf weights can be captured in just 10 seconds with the Crush Mode tool, and when more than one weight has been recorded, the app will predict future growth rates to help with finishing plans.
Mr Wheal continued: “According to AHDB, achieving 10kg higher weaning weights can increase output by an average of £20/head.
“This can be influenced by a compact calving period; the more calves born in the first three weeks of calving, the older they are at weaning, so the heavier they will be.”
Farmers can use the KPIs to select the most fertile females to breed from, achieving a tighter calving period and ultimately boosting profitability.