14 September 1998
‘Wait before getting dairy cows back in calf’

SCIENTISTS at the Food and Farming Systems Department, Auchincruive, have found evidence to support the view that dairy cows should not be served too soon after their last calving.

They have been able to measure the hormone progesterone in milk samples and can therefore tell when cows ovaries start functioning again. They have also been able to monitor embryo or foetal death.

Cows inseminated early had the worst productive performance. Those inseminated before 50 days after calving achieved a 43% conception rate. This rose to 63% for those cows served 90-100 days after calving.

Other findings of research at the centre include: very early onset of ovarian activity could be deleterious – there was a much increased risk of luteal activity in such cows; conception rates are highly variable, indicating scope for improvement by good management; and oestrus synchronisation tends to be over-used and gives worse conception and and embryo/foetal loss levels.

  • The Herald 14/09/98 page 21