Thursday, 15 October 2020 08:55

Reproductive performance – failing to plan is planning to fail

Written by  Greg Jarratt, vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services
Reproductive performance is not just a chance event but an area where focus and effort pays dividends. Reproductive performance is not just a chance event but an area where focus and effort pays dividends.

It is no secret that the reproductive performance of any herd is very closely associated with the overall financial outcome of the farming enterprise.

Top-performing herds benefit from more cows calving in time to take advantage of the spring flush and fewer empties, meaning managers have a greater opportunity to cull underperforming cows. 

Reproductive performance is not just a chance event but an area where focus and effort pays dividends. The old adage of failing to plan is simply planning to fail definitely applies here.

The two measurements that are key to benchmarking your herd’s performance are 6 – week in-calf rate and not in calf rate (empty rate). 

Many would argue, that the most important of these two parameters is the 6 – week in-calf rate, because empty rates decrease as mating duration increases. 

This effect of shorter mating length pushing up empty rates has been very noticeable since the banning of routine inductions more than five years ago where subfertility was masked by mating for a longer period and inducing more late calving cows.

With the majority of herds now mating for no longer than 10 – 11 weeks, it is now more important than ever for managers to be on their game and aware of all of the components contributing to a top reproductive performance. There are multiple factors to consider and failure to address them all is very risky. For example, the impact of a lease bull persistently shedding BVD entering a naïve herd after AB, would trigger a catastrophic abortion storm wiping out the 6-week in-calf rate and driving the empty rate sky high.

For this reason, investing some time into setting up a reproductive plan with a trained in-calf advisor is the first step. Advisors are trained to methodically cover all of the components contributing to reproductive performance in your herd giving you the best shot to optimise your performance.

Unfortunately, once pregnancy testing rolls around, the horse has bolted. 

As a veterinarian, pregnancy testing in autumn, there is nothing pleasant about being the bearer of bad news when empty rates are high.

So, if you have not reviewed your mating plan already – now is the time to act.

This article is brought to you by J. Swap.

• Greg Jarratt is a vet and director of Matamata Veterinary Services.

More like this

Don't get herd nutrition wrong

With mating season around the corner, there's no time for guesswork or getting herd nutrition wrong, according to GrainCorp Feeds' technical support manager Ken Winter.

Sexed semen demand rises

The number of New Zealand dairy cows mated to sexed semen is set to double this year as farmers look to capitalise on the technology which delivers a 90% chance of producing a female calf.

Magnesium supply low

Dairy farmers are facing a tight supply of magnesium due to Covid-19 related shipping delays.

National

Tributes to a dairy champion

Fonterra chairman Peter McBride has paid tribute to dairy industry leader John Luxton, who passed away earlier this month.

Dairy tops organic exports

Dairy has been named as New Zealand’s largest organic sector with exports of $153.8 million, up 55% from 2017.

Machinery & Products

Gongs for John Deere

The tractor of the Year 2022 Awards, held at the recent EIMA show in Bologna, handed out a brace of…

Digital pre-start safety checks

According to numbers published by ACC, more than 60 farm-related injuries are reported every day, leaving much room for improvement.

JV for Bucket Test App

Irrigation NZ and global farm management company CropX have established a joint venture agreement for the Bucket Test app.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Poo-powered BMW

OPINION: Car maker BMW is partnering with a California dairy farm to turn effluent into clean energy to power its…

Not bad

OPINION: New Zealand may be a minnow on the global stage but here’s another example how our ag sector punches…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter