LIC recently released the 2018
Reproduction Statistics, nationally most KPIs have improved. For the Waikato region, we saw the 3-week
submission rate (SR) lift by 2% to 81%, 6-week in-calf rate (ICR) lift by 2% to
69%. The not-in-calf rate (NICR) also
improved by 1% to 15%.
It is good that the average has kept
trending in the right direction over the past three years.
The top performing quartile of farms
achieved a 77% ICR, and a NICR of 12%.
So how do you compare? Have you thought about what you can do to
improve on last year?
a quick refresher, the mating targets you should be aiming for are:
heats of >85%
- 3-week submission
rate of 90%
- 3-week in-calf
rate of >60%
in-calf rate of 78%
empty rate of <6%
targets may seem high for some, but some farms are attaining these. The goal is to aim to improve and build on
where you are at each year, mainly by focusing on the small details that you
Have a written
mating action plan of what happens on what dates. It is not surprising to find that farmers who
have a detailed and dated mating plan achieve better mating performance than
those who don’t.
It is vital to
involve all staff in this process.
Have a look at your
Fertility Focus Report in MINDA to see the main areas you need to improve on.
Have you decided on
how you will deal with non-cycling cows (cows without a heat >30 days
post-calving)? Use of OAD, bulls and
hormone intervention are options, but do you know what works best for your
farm? Have you measured and reviewed
results from intervention in past years?
All AB or not?
being of greater importance, more farms are using all AB to keep the farm more secure. The national stats may surprise you with the
same 6-week ICR of 67%. The conception
rate was slightly lower with all AB herds by 2%, and the not-in-calf-rate was
slightly higher by 1%.
So the performance
analysed from 600 herds that did all AB (and could report with fertility focus
report), shows that all AB is a definite option for those farms that it
suits. You don’t have to trade off lower
Just make sure you
have the stamina and people to take on 10-12 weeks of heat detection each
detection has to be the major priority and time investment of each day at this
time of year. On a $7 pay-out, each
missed heat is worth $220 per cow (excluding the value of more heifer calves).
herds continue to get larger, this
means that good systems and staff training are more important.
The more time
spent observing cows in the paddock, the higher your submission rate will be
and the higher the chance of a better 6-week in-calf rate.
your submission rates consider the following:
not just rely on reading tail paint or detection aids in the cowshed.
identify those quiet and short heats, spend 20 minutes 2-3 times a day in the
paddock. Try to observe cows as quietly and naturally as possible.
any of these suspect (satellite) cows out prior to the AB technician arriving
into the cycling group, and observe behaviour of these uncertain cows. Will they stand to be ridden or not?
mated cows to the herd after insemination to help identify the next day’s
cycling cows. This becomes very
important in the second round of AB in smaller herds.
the number of people responsible for heat detection, as this minimises excuses
have new staff, take them to a training day and go through the farm mating
plan. Ensure everyone knows how to pick bulling cows and understands the farm’s
systems for recording heats, submitting cows for AB and re-tail-painting
cows. If you have experienced staff, the
time taken to refresh people on what everyone needs to be doing through mating
will undoubtedly pay off. Two hours invested
here could pay thousands of dollars in returns.
If you are
using bulls, take extra care to ensure you source them from a farm that fits
within your farm’s biosecurity criteria.
All bulls should be BVD tested and vaccinated.
best with 1 bull per 20 yearlings. The
main herd will require enough bulls to cover no more than 1.5 cows to service
per day (30:1 ratio). You will also need
bulls to provide rest and rotation so they don’t become tired or lame. Every farm differs in required level of
cover, but two teams of bulls rotated every 24-48 hours works well.
refresher should give you some thought starters to help you improve your repro
performance this mating period. Go get