Friday, 26 January 2024 07:55

Ensuring your cows have the best mating this season

Written by  Staff Reporters
There are many ways to tailor your mating programme to ensure your cows have the best mating this season. There are many ways to tailor your mating programme to ensure your cows have the best mating this season.

Hit the ground running this mating with these foundations for success.

There are many ways to tailor your mating programme to ensure your cows have the best mating this season. However, the following three foundations are key to giving you the best chance of hitting your mating goals.

Monitor your herd's body condition score

Cows calving in body condition score 5.0 for mature cows, and 5.5 for first- and second-calvers, have substantially better reproductive performance than cows in lower body condition score. Switching to once-a-day milking in middle to late lactation can reduce condition score loss if done early enough. Cows, especially first-calvers, milked once a day from calving, may achieve higher submission rates and in-calf rates with fewer non-cycling treatments, than if milked twice a day.

Maximise heat detection performance

Pre-mating cycling rate is like the herd’s submission rate in the three to four weeks before mating even starts. If you get 85% of cows cycling pre-mating, you should achieve a 90% 3-week submission rate to artificial insemination, along with a good conception rate.

The 3-week submission rate of your early-calved mature cows is a useful indicator of heat detection performance. Top farms achieve a 95% 3-week submission rate for the early-calved mature cows. If less than 90%, this is a strong indicator that heat detection rates are low, and reviewing your mating strategies should be a high priority.

For more advice, head over to dairynz. co.nz/heatdetection, or reach out to your local DairyNZ regional team or breeding company.

Motivate the team

Use the three weeks before the planned start of mating as an opportunity to upskill your team members, and get them to start identifying and recording cows in heat. You could even use a WhatsApp or Facebook group chat for everyone to list identified cows in heat. Encourage staff to take their time when in the paddock or sitting behind the cows to observe and record cows in heat.

Get your team involved by setting a target for a 3-week submission rate or 6-week in-calf rate, and report on the progress throughout mating to keep the team involved. Communicate the mating targets you would like to hit this season and celebrate the wins.

You can also check out DairyNZ’s The InCalf book for eight key management areas for improving herd reproduction at dairynz.co.nz/incalf.

Article kindly supplied by DairyNZ – previously published in Inside Dairy.

More like this

Learn how Lepto could be impacting your farm

Leptospirosis is widespread on New Zealand livestock farms and a webinar, hosted by Zoetis on March 19, will provide resource, and offer insights into understanding and preventing the disease.

FE spore counts climb

As New Zealand swelters in record hot and humid conditions, dairy farmers need to be more vigilant than usual against facial eczema (FE) as spore counts start to climb.

Farmers urged to have their say on INZB funding

Farmers are being encouraged to have their say on a New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB) proposal to continue funding the Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) genetics programme and supporting a new facial eczema research project.

Featured

Maui Milk blames supply/demand imbalance

Sheep milk processor Maui Milk says it’s one of many companies being impacted by the imbalance between supply and demand for New Zealand sheep dairy products.

Feds offer support for Maui Milk suppliers

Federated Farmers is arranging support for a small group of dairy sheep farmers in the North Island, who were told this week to stop milking by processor, Maui Milk.

National

Next generation of DNA testing

Herd improvement co-operative LIC is combining its DNA parentage testing and genomic evaluation services into one convenient service to help…

DCANZ rejects Canadian proposals

New Zealand dairy processors are rejecting new Canadian proposals for the administration of its dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under…

Machinery & Products

Twin-axle slurry tankers on debut

French manufacturer Pichon, imported and retailed in New Zealand by Norwood, has introduced two new twin-axle ‘Slurry Vacuum’ SV slurry…

Make that large please!

KUHN Farm Machinery has introduced a new flagship FC 13460 RA trailed mower conditioner, in the shape of the FC…

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Cows meta to Zuckerberg

OPINION: Mark Zuckerberg's multimillion- dollar housing project on Hawaii is attracting a lot of interest.

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter