Get your cows in-calf early to get ahead

Maximise your herd’s reproductive performance, boost productivity and increase profitability by getting your cows in-calf early.

Lift the reproductive performance of your herd and raise your 6-week in-calf rate by getting your cows in-calf early. Potentially increase your earnings by around $22,000 per year*. 

Benefits of getting your cows in-calf earlier

A high 6-week in-calf rate provides a gap between calving and mating, and results in more:

  • AB calves
  • milk in the vat before Christmas
  • voluntary culls
  • money in the bank.
Calculate the cash benefits of improving your herd’s reproductive performance.

What is your 6-week in-calf rate?

This is the percentage of your herd that gets in-calf during the first six weeks of mating. The average 6-week in-calf rate on Kiwi dairy farms is 65%. Lifting our national average to the industry target of 78% is worth about $185,000,000 to our industry**. 

6-week in-calf rate is also a key driver of not-in-calf rate. The more cows in-calf early, the fewer cows will be empty at the end of mating.

Why getting your cows in-calf early is important

Cows that get in-calf early calve early, which is important because there’s only 12 weeks between the start of calving and when mating begins. If cows calve early they recover earlier and can begin cycling again sooner - they're in a race against time. They get their first (least fertile) heat out of the way before mating starts. This increases their chance of getting back in-calf in the first six weeks of mating.

Race against time

Race against time

How to lift your herd’s 6-week in-calf rate

Gather quality data to measure your herd’s current performance

To get an accurate assessment of how your herd is currently doing you need good quality data. 

  • Make sure your herd’s calving, mating, and pregnancy records are current.
  • Resolve any herd record queries.
  • Set up access to your Reproduction reports on MINDA Live if you’re an LIC customer or get in touch with your service provider.
  • Complete early-aged pregnancy testing (less than 122 days after mating start date) and enter results in your herd recording software, such as MINDA.

Identify what key areas of farm management need improvement

Knowing where improvements need to be made on your farm will help you decide where to focus your time and resources. Use the Fertility Focus report and Reproduction graphs in MINDA Live to figure out which eight key management areas need improvement. 

  • Calving Pattern.
  • Heifer management.
  • Nutrition and body condition.
  • Heat detection.
  • Non-cycler issues.
  • Service bulls.
  • AB and genetics. 
  • Cow health.

Read more about the eight key areas of farm management

Take a year-round approach to reproduction

A year-round, whole-farm approach is the most effective way to manage your herd’s reproductive performance and increase your 6-week in-calf rate. This will set your cows up for success, provide sustainable fertility improvements and increase your chances of getting in-calf sooner at mating time, year after year.

Learn how to take a year-round approach


*Based on lifting the reproductive performance of an average 430 cow herd from the 2016 national average to the industry target (65% to 78%).

**Calculated using the InCalf Economics of Reproductive Performance Tool and the 2016 national reproduction statistics.