Cows should be managed to determine herd calving pattern and, therefore, herd fertility to maximise milk income, rather than working on the premise that cows will get pregnant when they are ready.

That was the message from vet Matt Dobbs of Westpoint Vet Services to delegates.

Mr Dobbs said poor fertility was costing the bottom 25% of UK herds 16,630 a year, with every day’s extension to the calving interval costing 3 a cow a day and culling costs due to poor fertility amounting to 770 a cow.

To reduce the costs of infertility Mr Dobbs suggested herds should aim to cull less than 40% of cows due to infertility and have an abortion rate lower than 6%.

“Heat detection rate should be above 80%, with a conception rate of at least 50%,” he added.