RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN REPRODUCTIVE FUNCTION USING ULTRASONOGRAPHY
My week began with a staff training programme in Fermoy. This was our first day to have ten staff on the payroll. The challenges ahead are immense. However, the various skills now employed should enable as to deliver a better service to our customers worldwide. Hopefully, you will begin to see the impact of the new cows365 in 2012.
The reproductive system of the cow is extremely sensitive to environmental change. The phenotypic effects depend on the type of genetics used on your farm. An example is the effect of poor housing facility for a British Friesian versus a Holstein cow. The Holstein cow with a genetic potential for 10,000 litres of milk will suffer with hock and feet problems if cubicle size and design are poor. The smaller British Friesian with lower genetic potential for milk production will not have the same incidence of hock and feet injuries. Many older cow facilities were designed for British Friesian type cows. Redesign of cubicle design has reduced the incidence of hock and feet injuries in the Holstein cow.
Injuries to feet and hocks result in an alternation to ovarian and uterine function. This can be observed using ultrasonography. Stress of this nature results initially in poor signs of heat and pregnancy rates to insemination, ultimately this type of stress results in anoestrus where oestrus cycles stop. Many farmers presume that these cows are pregnant because no heats are shown; scanning reveals a different picture. Hormonal treatment in a cow with leg and feet ailments will not be effective in the resumption of normal reproductive function.
At present, we are evaluating the effect of feeding a rumen bypass fish oil, on reproductive function. This project involved the repeated measurement of follicle and corpus luteum development during several oestrus cycles entailing a breeding programme. Follicle and CL development can be linked to reproductive function. The procedure of measuring these structures is tedious but rewarding when you can map out changes observed.
Dr. Dan & the team @cows365
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