Thursday, 15 January 2015

Have you dialled into our BRP beef teleconference?

Last year, the EBLEX Better Returns Programme organised a series of teleconferences on beef and sheep to bring expert advice and information to the farmyard.

Rather than taking a day off to attend a conference, farmers could dial in and listen from the comfort of their armchair, office or tractor cab.
They’ve been really popular and the good news is that they’re here to stay for 2015.

If you haven’t had chance to listen to a teleconference yet, two experts each talk for 15 to 20 minutes about a particular subject and then answer the listeners’ questions. Instead of 30 people vying to talk over each other to ask a question, listeners can simply email them in and Chris, our Industry Development Manager, asks them on their behalf.

Some might say why not run a webinar, and it is a good question, but the team decided to keep it simple and avoid the problems that many experience with their broadband connectivity. Plus it means people can listen in on the move.

Last week, Debby Brown and Rhidian Jones discussed managing replacement heifers for service this spring and finishing heifers respectively.

It was a busy one with plenty of questions.

Rhidian kicked off the teleconference by talking about the system choice being dependant on the time of year and resources available, which in turn will dictate the choice of breed.
He advised listeners to set targets and monitor them regularly, by weighing stock, in order to maintain an efficient system. Understanding the cost of production is also imperative as with any system.

Rhidian reminded people that it is the larger-framed animals (continental breeds) that have faster growth rates and reach heavier weights. Traditional breeds will be slower-growing, therefore farmers need to ensure the growth phase is sufficient to get maximum potential out of them.

Next Debby provided some key considerations for farmers bringing in new stock. She very rightly said that heifers are the lifeblood of the herd and are what make the future of it. Whether they’re homebred or bought-in, they’ll bring in new genetics and improve herd productivity, so ensuring the health status of the herd is protected is important.

And she added that knowing the health status of the current herd will ensure you understand the risk of them picking anything up.

Debby also stressed the importance of timing. Allowing enough time for tests, vaccinations and also settling in is important to ensure the risk of infection is reduced and fertility is optimum in time for service.

We’ve put this teleconference and all the previous ones on to the BRP section of the website so that people can listen if they were unable to dial in.

The next teleconference will take place on Friday 23 January. Kate Phillips will be discussing compound feed selection and ration formulation for sheep and Harriet Fuller will be talking about the prevention and treatment of disease at lambing time.