Beef


Our Service

Drove Farm Vets are committed to working with you to improve animal health and ultimately profitability.

With our tailor made consultancy visits we can discuss all herd health matters, including infectious diseases, vaccination action plans, parasite control, nutrition, and fertility. This results in a bespoke herd health plan

Excellence in livestock care

Beef services offered

Ensuring your suckler herd is ready for the coming breeding season is vital to productivity and profitability. Drove Farm Vets can carry out pre-breeding visits to examine potentially problematic cows from the previous season. For example, cows calving late in the season, ones who experienced difficult calvings or required a caesarean and cows who retain their foetal membranes. This will ensure these cows are clean and cycling well prior to the introduction of the bull.

We have years of experience when advising on the impact of nutrition and infectious disease on the fertility of your herd. Using herd data analysis Drove Farm Vets can monitor your reproductive performance and help maximise your farm’s conception rates.

With the use of Artificial Insemination (AI) becoming more practised on UK beef farms, studies have shown that it is possible for AI conception rates to match the performance of some bulls. Good fertility and nutritional management, plus infectious disease control means beef animals can achieve a first service pregnancy rate to AI of 65%. The use of synchronisation programmes can improve this rate. AI also gives beef farms access to good quality sires with Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) data allowing farms to select traits appropriate to their individual farm.

Accompanied by appropriate synchronisation programmes, the percentage of cows calved in the first 3 weeks of any block calving period can be increased. The higher the percentage of calves that are born in this period, the higher the average weaning weight. This will also enable cows a longer period to resume cyclicity before the subsequent breeding season.

Drove Farm Vets are well placed to advise farmers on suckler herd fertility and synchronisation programmes that are suitable for your farm.

The most efficient beef herds wean 95 calves per 100 cows that go to the bull each year. It is vital that cows get in calf as the cost of keeping an unproductive cow can have huge financial implications on your business.

The accurate and early diagnosis of pregnancy in beef herds is vital for the maintenance of good herd fertility. It is required for the early identification of fertility problems in both the individual animal and at herd level.

Cows should be scanned for pregnancy 6- 8 weeks after the bull is removed to aid with early detection of empty cows. Depending on the current market and farm resources, an appropriate decision on these barren cows can be made. Ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis is one of the cheapest and easiest methods of monitoring reproductive efficiency and helps detect any problems early in the breeding cycle.

Drove Farm Vets are equipped with portable ultrasound scanners to perform pregnancy diagnosis on your herd, and with our wealth of fertility knowledge, are well placed to help improve your farm’s reproductive efficiency.

Did you know that approximately 20% of bulls tested are found to be sub-fertile?

A sub-fertile bull can have a significant impact on a herd’s profitability due to an extended calving interval. It is vital that these sub-fertile bulls are identified before being relied upon.

Drove Farms Vets offer Bull Breeding Soundness Examinations (BBSE) with the use of electro-ejaculation and recommend that ALL breeding bulls are fertility tested on an annual basis approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the intended service period. This identification of any problem bulls allows sufficient time to source a replacement.

The Bull Breeding Soundness Examinations (BBSE) requires the bull to be restrained in a crush that allows access underneath, from the side. This service also includes a full clinical examination including feet, teeth, heart, conformation and locomotion scoring with thorough assessment of the sexual organs. Testicular diameter reflects directly on the quantity of the semen, here bigger is usually better!

Prior to fertility examinations, bulls should be separated from cows for at least 24 hours.

If you would like to find out more about Bull Breeding Soundness Examinations then please call the Farm Office on 01793 501499

Herd Health Planning is an essential aspect of all farming enterprises but it is often under used and under valued.

Drove Farm Vets believe that the success of herd health planning is through a close vet-farmer relationship, enabling us to work together to improve the health, welfare and productivity of your farm.

At Drove Farm Vets, we are uniquely placed to help promote animal health and welfare and advise our farmers in disease prevention. Our dynamic ‘Consultancy Visits’ are not a tick-box exercise and are focused on assessing each farm on an individual basis. We review key performance indicators, including fertility, mortality and growth rate data to help make recommendations on improving farm productivity.

Our health plan visits are carried out on farm where we aim to deliver quality consultancy advice to our clients which is tailored to your individual farm. We endeavour to use our time to improve farm efficiency by reviewing and refining routine procedures as well as helping create a monthly plan for the year ahead. Our findings are detailed in a written report, complete with an antibiotic usage review, and our short and long term recommendations are discussed. These completed health plans are wholly compliant with drug prescribing laws and farm assurance schemes e.g. red tractor assurance standards.

To find our more about Herd Health Plans or to book your Consultancy Visit, please call the Farm Office on 01793 501499.

High herd health schemes are available to enable farmers to monitor the disease status of their herd. The benefits of these schemes are huge, helping farms to increase productivity, reduce disease and increase the value of animals when disease free accreditation is reached.

There are several herd health schemes available in the UK that monitor the most common infectious diseases such as; Johnes’ disease, Leptospirosis, Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR), Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and Neospora. The scheme used should adhere to the CHeCS (Cattle Health Certification Standards) which are designed to “underpin the control and eradication of the main endemic diseases in the UK and Ireland”.

Health schemes can be used to assist the eradication of disease, help control disease and improve biosecurity to reduce the likelihood disease entry. Farmers find that the preventative healthcare benefits of these schemes far outweigh the cost of membership with improved productivity being found on farms registered with health schemes.

To find out more on High Herd Health Schemes please contact the Farm Office on 01793 501499.

At Drove Farm Vets, we are committed to providing the best veterinary care to our beef clients and with that in mind, 2015 saw the launch of Drove Beef Club.

Our Beef Club is a popular beef discussion group that brings together like minded farmers who are happy to share their ideas to improve the health and productivity of their herds. The group is dynamic, enthusiastic and sociable.

Our members see many benefits to their annual subscription. We meet regularly to discuss relevant topics, often hosted by leading specialists, whilst also making sure to locate some meetings on farm for a more practical session. Using data collected on farms, we anonymously benchmark members against each other and against the national herd.

Working more closely with our beef farmers has improved our relationships with members. This has enabled us to become more involved in our member’s enterprises, helping to improve productivity and profitability.

If you want to find out more about Drove Beef Club then please call us in the Farm Office on 01793 501499.

Drove Farm Vets offer a Calf Tracker Programme for analysis of beef calf performance.

Calf Tracker is an XLVet’s calf health and weight monitoring system which allows us to monitor youngstock performance and bench mark farms. Bench marking is a really valuable tool for both famers and vets as it allows us to compare your farms data against that of your peers, as well as allowing us to compare different farming systems.

Daily Live weight Gain (DLWG) is a key performance indicator on beef farms. Regular weighing of youngstock can help make more informed management decisions. This might include practices such as early weaning or implementing feeding at grass.

Calf growth to weaning is a reflection of the milking and mothering ability of the dam. Therefore, calf performance to weaning can be used to help select the most profitable dams for future breeding.

Our monitoring system gives a visual assessment of growth rates by displaying Average DLWG on a month by month basis. Farm reports also show individual calf weights which can help highlight calves that are not hitting growth targets.

These reports give us the opportunity to initiate investigations into aspects of health and management where required.

Drove Farm Vets are able to visit your farm to help weigh calves where necessary. Alternatively, you could choose to weigh your calves yourselves and send us data for analysis and follow up reports.

To find out more on Calf Tracker please contact the Farm Office on 01793 501499.

Achieving the best possible performance and productivity from your herd requires a combination of excellent animal husbandry, good management and high genetic merit animals. Good herd management allows for high genetic merit animals to reach their full potential without restriction; whilst careful genetic selection will ensure that genetic progress is maintained and enhanced in each subsequent generation of heifer replacements.

Drove Farm Vets operates an active bovine advanced breeding service, headed by Peter May, which offers both Embryo Transfer and Ovum Pick Up (OPU)/ In-Vitro Fertilisation services to pedigree cattle breeders who wish to amplify and accelerate their herds genetic potential.

Embryo Transfer involves enrolling high genetic merit ‘donor’ animals onto a bespoke superovulation programme, following which fertilised embryos are collected at 7 days post-insemination. Providing the embryos are of suitable quality they can either be implanted ‘fresh’ into synchronised recipient animals or frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen for future use.

OPU/IVF is a relatively new technique,which involves the harvesting of oocytes directly from the ovaries of the donor animal. These oocytes are then matured in a laboratory environment, in-vitro fertilised and those of suitable quality can then be frozen at an equivalent stage to that of a normal ET embryo. The OPU process can be initiated in a suitably high genetic merit donor from puberty and can be repeated more frequently than a traditional superovulation protocol. The advantages of this are a shorter generation interval, increased embryo numbers and no delay in breeding the donor animal.

Drove Farm Vets also offer a successful Repeat Breeder Embryo service. This involves implanting a frozen embryo into a problem breeder cow/heifer at 7 days post-insemination in order to try and enhance the natural mechanism for maternal recognition of pregnancy in the recipient animal so that the animal is more likely to hold in calf.

To find out more about Drove Farm Vets advanced breeding and ET services, please call the Farm Office on 01793 501499.

David Armstrong


Very pleased with initial results

Calf Tracker has helped me monitor the health status and growth rates of my calves. Monthly weight recording has helped us identify problems within the herd and implement management changes sooner e.g. when growth rates began to dip in a very difficult year when forage supplies were short, we introduced creep feeding earlier.

The visual reports received each month help us identify the poorer calves which enables us to group the calves at weaning to ensure that calves with lower growth rates can be fed accordingly.

I'm very pleased with the initial results and fully intend to use this programme with my vet going forward.