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Cows 365 Blog

February 2011 - Posts

  • Breeding beef stock from the suckler herd

    My final two calls for the evening are based down near Currans, Farranfore, Co. Kerry. Visited 2 farmers who were part-time previously in milk production. Because of farm fragmentation and the inability to scale up, they have converted over to suckler beef herds with off—farm jobs to supplement income. However, these individuals were farming with a difference. There was a great interest in doing the job well with animal welfare to the fore front. The quality of beef cattle produced was excellent with a selection of sires through AI, based on the cross of the dam used to produce a final calf of excellent conformation. This challenge is indeed great and one cannot predict accurately the outcome from a particular terminal sire cross to produce the ideal offspring. One of the farmers was considering the purchase of cows on an annual basis with calves at foot which would enable him to use a sire giving him greater predictability of progeny that could be produced using the terminal sire. He found that with maiden heifers that he had to use an easy calving sire and would have to wait until cows were four or five years of age and on their third-fourth calving before he could use the ideal sire. My only reservation was in the approach would be Bio-security on the farm from the purchase of stock on an annual basis. He is currently considering the purchase of Limousin Cross Blonde Aquantine cows in calf, crossed with Belgian Blue sires for the production of stock with expert potential as yearlings. Dr.Dan Ryan @ www.cows365.com
  • Severe reproduction failure in cows.

    Visited a client today who had severe reproductive problems in that a high proportion of cows having slipped pregnancies or foetal immortality. He discovered he had fed bales of silage to cows which were destroyed by an invasion of rats and had a severe outbreak of Leptospirosis. This disease could be accounted for by contamination of the rat infestation. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Empty cows can produce significant volumes of milk

    Morning rise and time today brought me to my first call outside Croom, Co. Limerick to a dairy farmer who presented a group of 35 empty cows from the spring calving programme last year which he bred in November and December to recycle these animals for autumn calving in 2011. Only 50% of those cows presented settled in calf with a breeding period of 6 weeks eligibility. Based on volumes of milk production, the empty cows will either be culled or re-cycled again in an attempt to get them in calf for spring calving programme beginning in mid April. However, the client is still happy with volumes of milk production in these cows which currently stands at 5.2 gallons while freshly calved cows are producing 8.3 gallons to freshly calved heifers 5.1 gallons. Dr.Dan Ryan @ www.cows365.com
  • Severe reproduction failure in cows associated with infestation of rates

    Visited a client today who had severe reproductive problems in that a high proportion of cows having slipped pregnancies or foetal immortality. He discovered he had fed bales of silage to cows which were destroyed by an invasion of rats and had a severe outbreak of Leptospirosis. This disease could be accounted for by contamination of the rat infestation. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Empty cows can still produce significant volumes of milk

    Morning rise and time today brought me to my first call outside Croom, Co. Limerick to a dairy farmer who presented a group of 35 empty cows from the spring calving programme last year which he bred in November and December to recycle these animals for autumn calving in 2011. Only 50% of those cows presented settled in calf with a breeding period of 6 weeks eligibility. Based on volumes of milk production, the empty cows will either be culled or re-cycled again in an attempt to get them in calf for spring calving programme beginning in mid April. However, the client is still happy with volumes of milk production in these cows which currently stands at 5.2 gallons while freshly calved cows are producing 8.3 gallons to freshly calved heifers 5.1 gallons. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Mineral supplementation in a herd of Simmental cows.

    Travelled from Limerick to Templemore to scan a herd of Simmental cows for a client who had severe problems with fertility last year. We scanned the cows at the end of 2010. He presented them this time having put in place a program with dietary management incorporated to adjust for mineral supplementation that was required in the herd. Fertility on this visit was excellent considering the fertility problems that pertained before. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Scanning recipients for purpose of E.T.

    My next call today entailed a visit to a client with 30 recipient heifers and cows which were synchronised with heats last Wednesday through Friday. The objective of this scan today was to identify recipients which were suitable for the purpose of embryo transfer next Thursday. Scanning enables us to identify the suitability of a recipient to take an embryo. My assessment of the recipients is based on the structure of the reproductive tract , uterine horns and CL development. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Limousin cows presented for scanning and sexing of pregnancies.

    Morning rise and time entailed travel to Clarina, County Limerick to a Limousin breeder. The husband was abroad on business and the wife had to have the children taken to school so I had to put in an early call before the school runs. This was their second scan of their breeding programme and they were delighted with the results. They followed a preventative health management programme (PHMP) in conjunction with the previous scan and the results paid off today as of the animals scanned were pregnant. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Delayed puberty in Belgian Blue cows.

    Visted a Pedigree Belgian Blue breeder outside Tullamore, Co Offaly who presented cows ,heifers and recipients for reproductive assessment and sexing of pregnancies. One of the Belgian Blue cows scanned had multiple pregnancies and had abnormal gut development. Two of the progeny of this animal remained in a deep pre-pubertal state even though they were 20 months of age. Daughters from this same Sire and Dam from previous embryo transfer had also resulted in animals with delayed puberty from failure to respond to induction of oestrus. In my opinion, this particular situation is associated with the genetics of the stock. Dr.Dan Ryan @ www.cows365.com
  • A beautiful stag and Eagle on the Slieve Bloom mountains and not a cow in sight.

    Travelling from Coolraine to Clonaslee in County Laois, travelled up over the Slieve Bloom Mountains to a client. Travelled back via the same route this morning . Stopped on the way back at a viewing spot where in the distance I saw a beautiful coloured stag and an Eagle hovering overhead. A beautiful sight to watch nature. Not a cow in sight! Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Pedometers as a heat detection aid for cows

    Scanned a dairy herd in County Waterford this evening where pedometers are placed on the cows as aid to heat detection. In my opinion, pedometers are an aid in heat detection and should not be used as the sole method of heat detection in cows. Heats can be missed. Cows can be AI’d incorrectly time-wise. Stockman ship skills slip because farmers will not spend time watching the cows. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Superstition or not, cows should not be tagged 911

    On a farm visit in County Waterford last evening, a cow was presented to me with a tag number 911. I commented cows should not be numbered in this fashion. I cannot believe the number of farms I visit that have cows tagged 911. The farmer said I was too superstitious. When I scanned the cow she had shut down reproductively and totally unfit for breeding. Dr Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • 9 pregnancies from 10 Embryos implanted- Excellent result

    Visited a pedigree Belgian Blue breeder in County Laois today who presented donor cows for reproductive assessment prior to AI on an superovulation for Embryo Transfer. A group of recipients were presented combining of Angus, Cross Friesian and Hereford Cross Friesian. The Hereford Cross Friesian has a much easier temperament to handle when compared to the Angus Crosses. The pregnancy rate was excellent – 9 pregnancies from 10 embryos implanted. The client wanted to know the sex of the pregnancies for the purposes of managing animals in conjunction with difficult calvings and for the sale of stock with guarantee of foetal sex. Dr.Dan Ryan Reproductive Physiologist @ www.cows365.com
  • Synchronisation programmes waste of time and money if cows are not fit.

    Visited a client with a herd of Limousin cows in County Clare. Body condition score of the cows was very poor. Silage quality presented with very low dry matters as the cows were scouring. I indicated to him that programming these cows was a waste of money. He informed me that he already tried this but was unsuccessful as the cows failed to come into heat. This in my opinion, is incredible wastage of hormones and use of AI as the animals need to get fit to back in calf. Dr.Dan Ryan www.cows365.com
  • Use of a Simmental bull in maiden heifers.

    Visited a client in County Derry today who presented a group of Montbeliarde Cross Friesian heifers which were bred to a Simmental bull. I was surprised at this as calving difficulty would be considered an issue using a Simmental on a dairy heifer. The client disagreed with me and claimed that the Montbeliarde Cross was not an issue using a Simmental bull when it comes to calving. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Scanning cows where stock bulls are used in the breeding programme.

    Morning rise and time first call this morning involved travel up to county Meath. Scanned a dairy herd and replacements. Stock bulls were running with this herd. The biggest danger here is that the stock bulls will be sub-fertile or infertile. These clients use scanning to age pregnancies and to manage the herd for drying off purposes, culling of cows that are in-fertile and addressing fertility issues as they rise in the herd. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Efficient rate of 82% and pregnancy rate of 56% in a Holstein Friesian dairy cow herd .

    Visited a dairy Holstein Friesian herd outside Newcastle, County Tipperary this evening with a year round milk production system. The pregnancy rate in this herd was attributed to excellent silage and maize reserved for the dry cow and early post calving period. Cows were in a BCS in excess of 2.5 to 3.0. When I see figures like this, I am satisfied that it is feasible to achieve high figures in terms of reproductive performance when management of the cows is correct. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Scanning cows in Scartaglen, County Kerry

    My first call this morning was down to Scartaglen in County Kerry. This is an area outside Castleisland which would consist of rolling hill land with marginal soil types. The area is populated with dairy and suckler farms. Farm sizes would range from 30 to 80 cows in general. All of our clients in this area are extremely hospitable. It is hard to finish a call without having to stop for a cup of tea. My first client this morning has both a dairy and a suckler herd. Today we had to scan the suckler herd on a rented farm close to Castleisland. The cattle are housed on this farm for the Winter months and moved to various locations for summer grazing. The biggest issue on his mind was heifers could not be detected in heat. It transpired that a number of the beef heifers were in calf to scrub bulls which he did not want at all. He did not wish to continue with the pregnancies as he would have to incur the cost of a C section and a calf which would not justify its existence as he said himself. Also, these heifers that are too small at time of calving never recover fully to form a useful replacement economically. His plan was to terminate the pregnancy and allow the animals time to recover and put them back in calf. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • Twins in Simmental cows

    Visited a pedigree Simmental breeder outside Glin, County Limerick . The most notable feature with the Simmental cow is the high incidence of twins which are a major feature with the breed. We identified 3 cows in 15 cows scanned with twins. From a client’s perspective, it is critically important that we identify cows carrying twins so that: 1. they can be managed for twins 2. reduce the incidence of problems associated with foetal death and malpresentation at birth 3. excessive body weight loss on the dam after calving. Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com
  • BCS excellent and high pregnancy rate to first service.

    My next call this morning was in East Cork to a client with a large dairy herd. BCS in these cows was excellent. He also had excellent reproductive performance in the herd associated with good diet management in a Holstein type cow. A noteable feature on this farm was the accompanied low incidence of twins and a high pregnancy rate to services. This farm would be noted for a high incidence of twins and this visit, the incidence of twins was low- of 140 days cows pregnancy rate to services was in excess of 45%. This association between stress on cows and the high incidence of multiple ovulations giving rise to twins and high incidence of embryonic death and has a consequential impact on the welfare of the animals post calving Dr.Dan @ www.cows365.com.
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