With aged pregnancy results coming in, this edition of six tips will help you identify areas that might be holding back your repro performance.
Narrowing in on these factors will allow you to focus your attention where it’s needed the most – giving you the best chance to improve performance.
All of these can be done via MINDA® and will require good records. However, If you do not keep good records in MINDA®, these tips can be an opportunity for you to see what valuable insights can be gained from doing so.
Compare the in-calf rates (or not in-calf rates) between:
Late calvers and those that calved in the first six weeks of calving
If late calvers (those that calved after week 6 of calving) make up a considerable portion of the herd (aim for less than 13%) and are demonstrating lower performance, it’s likely the late calving group is holding back reproductive performance.
Look into your records to help understand why they’re getting in calf/calving late. You could also try some short term methods such as culling or the use of SGL to get back on track.
Animals that aren’t at target body condition score and animals that are
If those that aren’t at target make up a sizeable portion of the herd and have poorer performance, this will be a contributing factor to lowered reproductive performance.
To improve BCS, strategies such as preferential management, increased feeding, once a day milking or drying off early are all good options.
2 & 3 year olds should be 5.5 at calving, 4.5 at mating.
4+ year olds should be 5 at calving, 4 at mating.
Animals affected by health issues and animals that aren’t
If those affected are not performing as well as those that are then it’s likely cow health is a contributing factor to lowered reproductive performance. Take a look at what portion of the herd is affected by health problems to determine the urgency of the issue.
Talk to your vet to discuss precautionary measures and have a quick response to significant health issues that arise.
Different age groups within your herd
If there is a particular age group that is underperforming and represents a decent portion of the herd, look further into their records such as weights, BCS and health to determine why and take the necessary steps.
Different periods in time
Look at the in calf rates and see if there was a point in time where in calf rates dropped off. Consider timely events that could have caused this to happen. This could be anything from changing from AB to bulls to a change in weather or feed supply.
And finally, put it into action
Prioritise what area demands the most attention by looking at what portion of the herd falls into each problem category.
First set a goal (have fewer cows under BCS target), then create a plan and assign tasks to staff (preferential management for the suboptimal group with increased feeding, drying off early or once a day milking), and be sure to measure and track results (regularly scoring cows).