This Food & Farming podcast episode is part of the Maternal Matters campaign being led by AHDB promoting the production of heifers that are efficient, profitable and fit for the future.
Our Knowledge Exchange Manager Amy Hughes speaks to suckler producer Pete Burbage who farms alongside his brother Richard in Northamptonshire. Pete talks about breeding technologies in the suckler herd and how using synchronisation, AI and sexed semen has benefited his farm business. Pete has been able to tighten the calving period to nine weeks and the new technologies have improved the maternal traits being bred into the herd. It can be an expensive investment, however, Pete and Richard have seen a significant return on investment and believe they are better off than they would be having a bull on farm and paying to manage it all through the year.
Pete calves his heifers at two-years old and puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of good management and good nutrition for the heifers when trying to get them in second calf. He says: “Calving at two-years-old is reliant on good nutrition to establish the right growth weights. Use quality forage and quality grass and weigh regularly to make sure they are on the right track. At the end of the day, they are trying to grow themselves, get in calf and feed a calf, which is achievable but need to manage accordingly.”