RH&W urges farmers to use existing data to drive flock performance

The Ruminant Health & Welfare (RH&W) group has urged sheep farmers, who already collect a lot of data about flock performance, to make far better use of it to improve health, welfare and productivity.

Nigel Miller, chair of the RH&W group, said producers naturally collate information about their flock – and analysing that information in conjunction with their vet or advisor will help to focus on key areas to improve.

Speaking at the recent Sheep Health & Welfare conference, Mr Miller said: “On-farm recording can provoke an immediate management response but then is often side-lined in a file. Perhaps there is real value in pulling back that key data and making time to review performance strengths and weaknesses.”

A poll of delegates at the conference revealed that the top three measures used to assess flock performance are scanning (21%), ewe or lamb mortality (19%) and daily liveweight gain (17%).

The top single measure of performance was identified as lambs sold (50%).

“But performance is not just about output, it is also about efficiency, which can be a key factor in determining profitability,” Mr Miller said.

He suggested looking at the full spread of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and then to focus on one area to improve.

Mr Miller said: “Often that will have a knock-on effect to other KPIs too. And if you have a particular goal it’s easier for your advisor to help you. Having a good advisor can be a real game changer.”

RH&W is surveying farmers to identify the key health and welfare challenges affecting the industry. To take part and potentially win a farmhouse hamper worth £50, please click HERE before January 10, 2021.

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