What is ‘The 90+ Club’?

‘The 90+ Club’ is a benchmarking and discussion group, led by farm vets, which follows spring-born suckler calf losses from scanning to weaning.

The idea for this group in emerged in 2021, when we hosted a talk by Tim Geraghty, Veterinary Centre Manager at SRUC Aberdeen. Tim presented the results of his ‘2,000 Beef Cows: Calf losses from breeding to weaning’ study. After the event, multiple clients showed interest to start a similar project in Northumberland, which led us to create this group in 2022.


What does ‘90+’ stand for?

The ‘90+’ name refers to the number of calves weaned per 100 cows put to the bull (it has nothing to do with the herd’s size or the owner’s age).

Commonly used benchmarking targets state that suckler herds should aim to wean 94 calves for every 100 cows put to the bull (94%) (AHDB, 2018). However, actual benchmarking figures in Great Britain show that the industry’s average is lower, at around 87% on average (see table).


Average number of suckler calves weaned per 100 cows to the bull

AHDB Stocktake Report, 2016 85%
AHDB Stocktake Report, 2018 88%
QMS Upland Herds, 2020 85%
QMS Lowground Herds, 2020 89%


Our aims

The group was created to monitor how we are performing in Northumberland, to generate discussion and provide advice to help drive improvement.

Our goals are:

  • To monitor individual farm performance:
  • To investigate what causes calf losses in suckler herds:
  • To share knowledge and ideas between farmers and vets:
  • To provide a learning opportunity for everyone involved:


How does the group work?

  • We ask members to record their herd’s performance, broken down into stages: scanning, abortions, calving and weaning.
  • We have three meetings a year: after weaning and scanning (December), before calving (February), after calving (June). At every meeting we review the results of the previous stage and deliver a talk on topics that will be relevant for the next stage (e.g. we review the scanning results and talk about how to prevent losses during pregnancy).
  • We share and discuss the results anonymously: all the data is anonymised. It is up to the members to decide if they want to share their individual experiences during the group discussion.
  • We organise talks to cover topics relevant to the next production stage: these are delivered by our vets or external speakers (specialists and vets working in the wider industry).


Who can join the group?

The group is open to anyone with a spring-calving suckler herd. There are no limitations in size (smallholders welcome!) or age. We believe that despite differences in herd sizes and management systems everyone can learn something from other people’s experiences. Ultimately, the goal is to help everyone wean more calves, and this will be beneficial to any farm.

The ‘90+ Club’ is a voluntary initiative. You can join or leave at any point, but if you join we will ask you to provide your herd’s performance records, which will be shared anonymously to generate discussion.

Laboratory tests and post mortem examinations are recommended but voluntary. We are working to get funding to be able to subsidise these in the future.

There is no need to use computer records to join. Paper records are fine.

In the future we may consider starting an autumn-calving group. Please let us know if you would be interested.


To join the group:

Please contact your local branch or email Anna at anna.bruguera@alnorthumbriavets.co.uk


Meeting calendar
February ·        Pregnancy loss results.

·        Talks on preventing neonatal calf losses, the bulling period.

June ·        Calving results

·        Preventing losses before weaning.

December ·        Weaning results (end of cycle).

·        Scanning results (start of a new cycle).

·        Prevent losses during pregnancy (abortions).

Scroll to Top