Know How / Dairy / Breeding and fertility

Good breeding and fertility management underpin profitable milk production in the dairy herd. Keep up with the latest information on dairy cow fertility, from genetics and genomics to heat detection, artificial insemination (AI), pregnancy diagnosis and calving intervals.

Case studies

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How US dairy is extending its voluntary waiting period

Breeding cows later after calving isn’t harming pregnancy rates at George DeRuyter & Sons dairy in Sunnyside, south-east of Seattle in Washington state, where the 5,000-cow herd is averaging 26%.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Why switch to autumn block calving is improving resilience   

The drive to create a dairy system that can cope with fluctuations in the milk price, improve profitability and provide a better work-life balance has seen a Yorkshire farm transition…

GRASSLAND MANAGEMENT

How farmer gets 11,000 litres from grazed Holstein herd

Wiltshire farmer Robert Mallett and his wife Maria are defying convention by producing nearly 11,000 litres of milk from their autumn-calving herd of grass-fed cows. Like most high-yielding herds, Mr…

DAIRY

How Hampshire dairy has climbed to top 5 for milk production

Consolidating cow numbers has helped one Hampshire herd shoot up 14 places in the NMR annual production report, to clinch fifth place. In what was a tough year for dairy…

DAIRY

How £2.5m dairy unit is improving dry cow management

Good management during the dry period is crucial to promote cow welfare and ensure the profitability of dairy cows in the following lactation. The College of Agriculture Food & Rural…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How sexed semen is paying off for Shropshire dairy farmer

Fertility is the main profit driver for any block calving business, so it’s little surprise that concerns over conception rates put many off using sexed semen for fear of extending…

Practical advice

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FEED AND NUTRITION

How to assess if your dry cow ration is working effectively

The success of early lactation performance, metabolic disorders, udder health and fertility are all linked to the diet fed during the dry period. Although a ration may look adequate on…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

US farmer's six-point plan for better dairy breeding

Good genetics make the difference between being average and being great, according to Lloyd Holterman from Rosy Lane Holsteins in Wisconsin, US. The herd of 1,100 Holsteins out-performs the averages…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Are fertility monitors worthwhile in block calving herds?

Fertility monitors are widely used to support heat detection in all-year-round calving herds, but more spring and autumn calving systems are now opting for monitors over scratch-cards and tail paints…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to manage body condition in overfit cows

Farmers are being advised to carefully manage cow body condition with anecdotal reports suggesting an increased number of caesarean sections due to overfit cows. Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) says…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Advice on using dairy teaser bulls

As the breeding season in spring block calving systems approaches, dairy farmers will be weighing up the pros and cons of running vasectomised bulls with their herds to improve heat…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How to assess and improve dairy herd genetics

Making the right decisions on breeding strategy can mean the difference between profit and loss for dairy farmers. Even with the best management, there is a limit to animal performance,…

Insights

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BREEDING AND FERTILITY

August bull proofs: Genomic sires showcase performance ability

Young genomic sires are proving their ability to perform, making up the entire top 10 of proven Holstein sires in the August bull proof run released today (13 August) by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Benefits of cross-breeding dairy and is it right for you?

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. It differs from a similar study…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Livestock gene editing: Current rules and potential benefits

The potential to make our own legislation after leaving the EU could provide scope for gene editing of livestock to become mainstream in the UK. Gene editing changes a precise…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How the dairy industry is making genetic improvements

Dairy producers have made rapid genetic progress in recent years, with gains in milk, fat and protein production and a transformation in the appearance of cows, each heavily influenced by…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

What changes are Holstein UK making to type classification?

Four new traits have been introduced to Holstein UK’s type classification service. Previously, classifiers scored cows on four composite areas covering 21 linear type traits (see "Old scoring system" below).…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Fertility Focus: What can UK herds learn from US dairy systems?

Westpoint Farm vet Matt Gue visited America last summer as part of a short study tour funded by the Farm Link Travel Bursary. During his stay, he spent time in…

LIVESTOCK

How to use dairy genomics to full potential

Genomics is a tool that can be used to really drive the profitability of dairy systems, yet it’s still not being used to its full potential by many producers. US…

DAIRY

4 messages for the dairy industry

More than 15,000 farmers attended the biannual Teagasc Moorepark Research Open day in Fermoy, County Cork, on 4 July to learn about the latest research being conducted at the centre. …

LIVESTOCK

August bull proof sees shift towards high fat and protein

The latest profitable lifetime index (PLI) genetic rankings for daughter-proven Holstein bulls, published today (9 August) by AHDB Dairy, continue to show a shift towards fat and protein improvers, to…

How to get stocking rates and nutrition right

Recent research in Ireland has concluded that stocking rate has a minimal impact on fertility rate if nutrition is managed correctly. This, in hand with careful selection, means that increased…