A survey of the management of reproduction on 66 Scottish suckler herds calving in spring 2003 was analysed using multiple regression. The predicted mean value of suckled calves produced was £237/cow (SE 1.8). The regression coefficients of the predictors was 0.74 (0.05), 15 (3.9) and 248 (16.5) for date of first calving, average number of 21-day calving periods (calving spread) and proportion of cows barren respectively. Improving each predictor by 1 SD had the combined potential to improve predicted calf value by £64/cow, over 80% of the current typical gross margin for this type of enterprise. Bull care had a significant influence on calving spread and number of biosecurity measures taken had a positive influence on the proportion of cows barren. However, length of breeding season had no significant impact on the above predictors. Reproductive performance was highly variable and indicators were considerably poorer than published targets. It was concluded that farmers in this sample were not managing their herds for high reproductive performance and output as often advocated. This result suggests considerable scope for improved private and public benefits from the management of reproduction in this type of beef production system.


Downloads Statistics

Download Full History