Dairy and beef producers were being urged to pay attention to reproductive performance to boost profit margins in the year ahead.
Fertility was key for both dairy and beef herds as they pushed to become more efficient.
For dairy, Promar’s February Milkminder report showed farmers had continued to improve outputs on ‘all fronts’ in the 12 months to February 2018.
Average butterfat and protein percentages continued to increase year-on-year to 4.05 per cent and 3.29 per cent, respectively.
Cow numbers, average yield and stocking rates also increased, with the impact on margins boosted by an improvement in the milk price to concentrate price ratio, from 1.17 to 1.34.
Nigel Davies, Promar national consultancy manager, said with the prospects of this weakening in 2018, herd reproductive performance would be a key factor to sustaining improvement.
He said: “If they can master that, they will be one step closer to repeating the success of the last 12 months, in the next 12 months, and sustaining the gains made so far.”
Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) has highlighted how many calves beef dams produce over their lifetime as vital to improving efficient beef production.
Figures from the British Cattle Movement Service said an average beef dam in Wales which died in 2017 had produced five-and-a-half calves over a nine-year lifespan, but increasing the number of calves could have a marked effect on productivity and reduce the cost of buying-in replacements.
The two areas to concentrate on were average age at first calving and calving intervals.
The Welsh average age of first calving was 1,009 days, compared to 998 in England, with a calving interval of 426 days, compared to 419.7 days in England.
But beef herds across the UK remained short of the target interval of 365 days.
HCC data analyst Glesni Phillips said a controlled breeding programme could shorten the calving pattern.
He said: “This would improve herd profitability, as the maximum number of calves possible in a dam’s lifetime would increase.
“More streamlined cow and calf management and increased weaning weights have also been seen on-farm from having shorter calving intervals.”