"What would I expect dairy farmers to know?"
Breeding targets and the `why'?
Use 1.5 to 2 AI straws per cow in your herd.
Manage the grass wedge to grow more grass &
Two-thirds of your annual N must be applied
Understand banking matters for `your own
Fatigue management: recognise it and
By Matt Ryan
WHAT WOULD I EXPECT DAIRY FARMERS TO
You must know that there are two essential KPIs:
· 6-week calving rate,
· Tons of grass utilised per ha.
You must know the targets/actions that contribute to
achieving those milestones.
BREEDING TARGETS & THE `WHY'
This month is the driver of dairy farmers' most
important KPI for 2019; namely 6-week calving rate in
Do you know what you have to achieve during the
breeding this season? The following targets must be the
· Submission rate (3 weeks)
90 per cent
· Non return rate (NRR) to 1st service (Cows)
70 per cent
· Non return rate (NRR) to 1st service (Heifers)
70 per cent
· Non-Detected-Oestrus (NDO)
10 per cent
· Normal (18-24 day) return interval 65 per cent
· 42 day NRR (a) Cows
85 per cent
95 per cent
· Services per conception
· Culled as empty
6 per cent
· Herd calving interval (days)
· AI/Bull/Scanning/Drugs Costs
You can't measure these unless you have good records:
· Use the ICBF breeding chart and pocket
notebook to record all breeding details on the
· Use ICBF Herd Plus data from last year to
establish where you are weak and use it this year
to stay on top of problems arising.
· Look at your 2018 reports to see if you can learn
anything that will make the 2019 breeding season
have better results.
Poor submission rates can be due to many factors but
many farmers miss 20-40 per cent of their cows in-heat
and 30 per cent of the herd should come in heat every
week (or 4.3 per cent per day) for 1st 3 weeks:
· Heat lasts on average 9 hrs (range 2-18 hrs) and
the cow in heat only stands for 2-3 seconds for
"standing mount"- therefore, the cows' will only
be seen in "standing heat" for 1-2 minutes for
all of the 2-18 hour period. Difficult! Also, if the
heat period is disturbed (collecting for milking,
strangers, dogs, people, machinery nearby, etc.),
she may not stand for heat any more. Such breaks
occur in 30-40 per cent of cows.
· Lame cows often refuse to be mounted and so
tail-paint may not work.
· 10-15 per cent of cow show heat at night and may
not show signs in the morning.
· Heat may occur in 4-8 per cent of pregnant cows
insemination at that heat may cause abortion
and delayed calving.
· Tail paint or whichever heat detection aid
is a must routine on every farm and with 3
observations per day (before morning and
evening milkings and 9pm) will pick up 90 per
cent of in-heat cows.
· For tail-paint to work well/easy to interpret it
must only be 2 inches wide by 9 inches long from
the tail head forward to highest point on back
bone all lose hair must be removed first.
· Ensure cows are on an adequate plain of nutrition
prior and during the breeding season.
The non-return rate (NRR) should be 70 per cent or
better; that means that in a 100-cow herd that 30 cows
should have been submitted each week and only 9
cows repeating in week four. What is wrong if more
· BCS was either too fat at calving or lost too much
weight up to mating start date (MSD so energy
could have been reduced,
· Service day management:
Poor storage of AI straws,
Poor AI technician technique,
Cows under stress on day due to feed or water
Poor facilities for service; the ordinary cattle
crush is not suitable for AI service.
The best time to serve a cow is 12-24 hours
after the onset of heat.
The repeat window is 18-24 days.
If there is blood on the vulva she is gone off
heat only 7 per cent chance she will go in-
calf. Use that information to "pick" her up next
· Minerals could be a problem (usually 4-5 in line
of causes), particularly, Se, I, Cu, Co, and maybe
P, Mn, or Mg.
18-24 Day return interval: A high per cent repeat
intervals of less than 18 days suggests poor heat
detection and that cows are being submitted who are
not in heat.
· A lot of intervals greater than 24 days suggests
`over cautious' heat detection and failure to AI
cows that are on heat; but there could be embryo