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Cows 365 Blog

May 2011 - Posts

  • Infertility in stock bull causes dramatic increase in calving to pregnancy interval.

    On a farm visit on the foothills of the Antrim mountains, visited a dairy herd to age and sex pregnancies. Two bulls had been with the cows for the previous four months. Cows presented had pregnancies between 60 and 110 days but nothing below 60 days. One of the bulls had broken a leg and and the second bull was left on his own with the cows. From the scan it could be seen that the second bull was infertile. In a situation where stock bulls are used with a herd, it is important not alone to have sufficient bull power but that the stock bull is fit and that an observation is kept on the cows to make sure that there are not too many cows repeating for those eligible to go in calf. Dr.Dan @
  • Scanning Parthenaise cows in Kildare and an infertile bull in County Cork

    Visited a herd of Parthenaise cows in Co.Kildare. The client wanted to assess cows for super ovulation and embryo transfer and also a group of suckler cows and maden heifers for use as recipients. Ultrasonography is an excellent tool in this respect as mature cows can be used as recipients for embryo transfer if the reproductive tract is deemed suitable. In this case scenario we identified four mature cows which would be excellent as recipients whereas among the maiden heifers a number of them where pre-pubertal and a number were in calf and only two were suitable as recipients. A big plus with using the mature cows would be a reduced risk of calving difficulty and less risk of having to do a c-section and the associated costs of same. Morning rise a time, first call this morning was to a dairy farmer near Fermoy, Co.Cork. This farmer presented a herd of dairy cows and a group of maiden heifers that were running with a stock bull. In the first instance the stock bull was infertile as none of the maiden heifers were in calf. He used the information collected to synchronise the maiden heifers for the purpose of AI. Secondly in the milking dairy herd he had a high proportion of cows presumed pregnant to AI. On the basis of the scan today many of the cows were not in calf. We were able to use scanning to identify non-pregnancy status from day twenty one past breeding. Dr.Dan @
  • Maine-Anjou an excellent terminal sire to produce show cattle.

    Visited a client in County Meath to scan the suckler cows who presented some of the calves produced this year. One of the calves was from a cross with a Maine-Anjou sire and the muscle under this calf was excellent both front and rear. Dr.Dan @
  • Scanning cows reveals that local reactions to copper injections causes an-oestrus

    On a farm visit outside Oldcastle, County Meath to scan a herd of dairy cows which were presented with a high percentage of cows not detected in heat. Of those cows not detected in heat, some presented as an – oestrus and a number had large lumps on their necks which were associated with copper injections. There can be an adverse reaction to the injection of copper. An elderly farmer told me yesterday that the heating of copper prior to injection avoids this risk factor. Dr.Dan @
  • Birds signing and no sign of the farmer!

    Morning rise and time, today was down today to a client in County Kerry. When we arrived on the farm, we could hear the birds signing and nothing else. The cows were on a paddock and I knew we were in trouble. I called the client who was still in bed. He informed me that he had got his days mixed up and was very embarrassed when he met me. However, the cows were on a bare paddock for the night and he ran in to get some of the buffer feed he had prepared. We scanned over 90 cows for him in an hour while the cows were happily eating their breakfast. These were well managed cows with excellent BCS considering this herd has a genetic potential of 10,000 litres. However, the scan did reveal that although most cows were fit, heat detection rate was poor. It was now time to bring in the stock bull. The client would be too busy with other chores on the farm to devote time to take reproductive management of the herd. Dr.Dan @
  • Ensure liquid nitrogen is topped up in your AI flask on a routine basis.

    Travelled to a client in Co. Cork where a fertility problem pertained with a large number of cows repeating. The cows were reproductively sound based on the scan with no sign of abnormalities as to why cows were repeating. Further discussion revealed that those cows pregnant were to particular 2 bulls and the repeats were to a selection of 4 bulls. It transpired that the 4 bulls to whom all the repeats were, belonged to a particular AI company and the other bulls were to another AI company. The liquid nitrogen was topped up when the straws from the company with the 2 AI bulls were put into the Ai flask. Based on the analysis of the 2 Ai straws from the selection of 4 bulls, all of the sperm were dead. In my opinion, the liquid nitrogen had run too low in the presence of the 4 sires from the company. Dr.Dan @
  • A wet and windy May will fill the barns with corn and hay

    Visited a client this evening to scan a herd of cows. There was a gale—force wind slowing and heavy rain falling while we scanned the cows outdoors. The father of the client involved came out with the saying ‘A wet and windy May will fill the barns with corn and hay’. Having had lovely weather in April, the past week has been very welcome rains in the countryside to rejuvenate the fields of grass and tillage crops. However, this continued broken weather may cause problems in terms of future grazing of ground particularly in heavy soil samples. Dr.Dan @
  • Scanning suckler cows with proper handling facilities

    In Co. Tipperary I travelled to scan a herd of suckler cows. These were Limousin and Limousin Cross cows which had a poor temperament and the handling facilities for these animals were excellent and needed to be considering their bad temperament. According to the client they were fine whenhe worked with them on his own but when any strangers were around, their temperament changed completely. It is quite frightening to come into a herd like this and see the cows behave so poorly. The client had used AI and then run a suckler stock bull with them afterwards; he needed to know whether the cows had held to AI or to a subsequent service. I reminded him that it was very difficult to age pregnancies accurately from 110 days of pregnancy onwards. We have booked his next call in on the basis of his future breeding programme, to allow our first visit 110 days into the breeding programme. Dr.Dan @
  • MooMonitors extremely accurate in terms of heat detection and identifying problematic cows in a preventative health management programme (PHMP)

    Visited a dairy herd in Co. Waterford today, where a client had 59 cows where MooMonitors had been used as an aid in heat detection. The client informed me that the MooMonitor identified every cow that he had detected in heat. 13 cows were not detected in heat, and of these 13 cows, 3 were pregnant and mis-identified as cows that were not pregnant. Of the remaining 10 cows, 8 had severe reproductive problems and were either not cycling or had severe uterine infections which prevented them expressing oestrus. 2 cows were in mid-cycle when we went back to examine them. The activity data for those cows had shown that they had indeed expressed heat but the farmer had forgotten to inseminate them. In this incidence, the farmer had presented the cows that needed attention in his reproductive management programme. Dr.Dan @
  • Outbreak of IBR reflected in scanning of cows.

    Visited a farm outside Ennis, Co. Clare where a herd of Holstein cows were presented with very poor reproductive performance. Cows showed all the clinical systems of an IBR outbreak. A number of cows were diagnosed with embryonic death while those cows recently served or not served were reproductively unsound. My advice to the client was to consult with his vet in terms of an assessment of a breakdown in protection against IBR. In this case, IBR would be considered secondary stressor in the herd. Dr.Dan Ryan @
  • Cow centre system for dry cow management

    Morning rise and time today, calls this morning in Co. Limerick. First call was to a client who used a cow centre system for dry cow management. This involves a dry cow management system, on an energy basis, to maintain BCS on cows. The main finding this morning was that cows had ovulated too early post calving giving rise to severe uterine infections which were undetected. This client needs to use scanning as a tool for accurate dry off dates and calving dates, in order to ensure cows enter the cow centre system at the correct time post-calving. Dr.Dan @
  • Cow scanning revealed a cow not cycling because of a bone fragment beneath the tongue.

    I scanned a cow this morning which was not cycling and it revealed that this was associated with a bone fragment trapped underneath her tongue. The animal was continuously wrenching her mouth in a movement that there was some internal problem. We opened the cow’s mouth and revealed a large piece of bone trapped in tissue beneath the tongue. This type of stressor would definitely result in a cow not cycling. It was a great relief to see the cow walk away from the crush and immediately stop the abnormal mouth movement. Dr.Dan Ryan @
  • Students for UCD on work experience

    This was the first day out for a group of students studying Agricultural Science in UCD on work experience with our company. This first day out meant an early start of 4.30am in order to ensure we were on the road for the first appointment of the day. By the end of their first day they had no problem going to bed by 9pm. The scene reminded me of one of the short stories from my secondary school days called ‘the potato gatherers’ whereby the young boys full of the joys of life by nightfall whereas in the morning they were unable to move a limb. The story was the reverse with these young ladies who realised that a day on the road with Dr. Dan can be very tiring. Dr.Dan @
  • Scanning cows in West Cork

    Scanning cows between Drimoleague and Bantry Tuesday morning I headed south, to west cork to scan cows for a client between Drimoleague and Bantry. This farmer has off farm business interests and needed to get on top of his breeding programme for spring calving next year. He also presented cows which were the tail end of is breeding programme for the winter. As he had been away he wanted to maximise the submission rate to the first point of breeding for the spring calving season. He had started breeding cows at the start of April and decided to use our services to conduct a pre-breed scan of cows not already detected in heat to synchronise them to ensure that all cows eligible for service were bred within the next week and those cows not eligible for service were managed to ensure a high submission rate for the next 4/5 weeks. Dr.Dan @
  • Basida Suckler cows as a breed in Ireland

    Visited a suckler farmer in Co.Laois to scan a herd of suckler cows for pre-breed scanning and pregnancy scanning. Included in the group of cows were seven Basida cows which originated from France. The cows produce cross bred calves when crossed with Parthenaise bulls. However, the temperament of these cows leaves a lot the be desired. Four of the cows had excellent temperament while the other three were dangerous and in a group of cows it is very difficult to deal with.
  • Superlevy imminent in causing severe hardship for dairy farmers

    Visited a farmer in Co.Laois who is producing winter milk in a grass based milk production system. Therefore, he is calving both autumn and spring. He is milking a total of fifty cows on a small holding. The genetic potential of these cows is over 10,000 litres per cow. He cannot work on a grass based system as the number of cows needed to make a living would not be feasible on a small holding. The opportunity to lease land or purchase land adjoining his own farm is not feasible. Therefore this client is caught in a situation where he has only quota for 80,000 gallons but he is producing in the last year quota in excess of 110,000 gallons of milk. His bank repayments require him to milk in excess of fifty cows to meet repayments and family expenses. The current rise of a superlevy is pushing him into a situation whereby he may have to sell cows where the market does not pertain for same. Dr.Dan @
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