• Jin Gan

Some Key Principles For Successful Dairy Cattle Breeding


Most farmers were more interested in milk yield of their cows than fertility of the herd. However, fertility is crucial for the profitability of the farm. Here are some key principles for successful dairy cattle breeding:

Successful calving

  • Cows must have successful calving experience.

  • Many of the health problems related to herd is going to happen around calving and it will affect fertility performance.

  • One of the most important factor on having a successful calving season is body condition score.

  • Focus on controlled energy feeding for the cows to ensure their body condition score is on target.

Nutrition in early lactation

  • Nutrition in early lactation is crucial as dairy cows will have negative energy balance post-calving.

  • Cow's energy requirement goes up quickly after calving but they have very poor appetite so the energy ingested goes up slowly.

  • Make dry matter intake a priority during early lactation.

  • Supplement the cows with other additives such as rumen bypass fats to ensure they have sufficient energy.

Genetics

  • From studies, it is shown that there is a huge difference in terms of percentage pregnant for those in lowest quartile in comparison to third quartile and top quartile for the EBI fertility sub-index.

  • If you are in the bottom quartile for fertility, you are going to have a hard time to achieve decent fertility performance.

  • You do not necessary need to be in the highest quartile for fertility but having a herd with good fertility sub-index will definitely help.

Management

  • Management for herd pre, during and post breeding is crucial.

  • During breeding, the most important thing for fertility performance is heat detection.

  • Check back what was the heat detection like from previous years.

  • How many heats were missed or inaccurately recorded?

  • Looking at the repeat interval should tell you what your heat detection is like.

  • The normal repeat interval should be 18 to 21 days and you want more than 60% repeats in that category.

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