Thursday, 15 November 2018 11:55

Programme to improve sector's in-calf rates

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The national in-calf rate target is 78%. The national in-calf rate target is 78%.

DairyNZ has redeveloped and updated a reproduction knowledge course known as the InCalf training programme.

InCalf programme manager Samantha Tennent, new in the role, says the course teaches key knowledge in fertility and steps that can improve dairy cows’ reproductive performance. 

The training is for anyone interested in improving cows’ reproduction, including vets, rural professionals and farmers.

“As a sector we need to be working together to help lift the current national average six-week in-calf rate from 66%, closer to the sector target of 78%,” Tennent says.

“Many factors influence reproduction and it can be challenging for farmers to do everything they need to do at the right time to achieve good results.  Sometimes they lack of awareness or knowledge, yet we know that people who attend InCalf training know how to identify opportunities for improvement.”

Run for the last decade in New Zealand, the programme was originally adapted from Australia for NZ conditions. 

“DairyNZ has worked with InCalf trainers to modernise the programme, including reducing the number of paper resources,” Tennent says.

The new training format is known as InCalf Foundations and is designed to help attendees understand and prioritise drivers of fertility.  Attendees will understand the economic benefits of good reproductive performance in a herd and learn how to maximise use of the InCalf resources, including interpreting the Fertility Focus Report that is part of the InCalf programme.

“The principles of InCalf help raise awareness of a year-round approach to reproduction for good performance, rather than focusing only on the mating period. It’s important not to wait until it’s too late to address issues.”

For farmers’ convenience the course has been reduced to two days but participants will get the same amount of instruction.

“We are looking forward to delivering the updated programme,” Tennent says.

Courses will run in Hamilton on November 20 and 21, and in Ashburton on November 27 and 28. Spaces are limited. 

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