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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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…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How the Montbeliarde breed adds value to a dairy business

A switch from Holstein cows to breeding pure Montbeliardes has resulted in better fertility, milk constituents, cow health and calf and cull cow value. For dairy farmer Michael Wilson of…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

How dairy farmer has cut neospora infection by 25%

A Welsh dairy farm’s policy of not breeding heifer replacements from cows that test positive for neospora and being meticulous with biosecurity has helped to reduce herd infection from more…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

Cross-bred cows v Holstein: How they compare

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have been comparing the performance of three-way-cross cows (made up of Viking Red, Montbeliarde and Holstein) to Holsteins. Their studies have compared feed intake; milk…

CALVING

US dairyman reveals calving protocols at his 2,800-cow dairy

Implementing strict calving protocols has helped US dairy farmer Don Niles reduce stillbirths from 24% to less than 2% on his 2,800-cow dairy. The vet, who is now co-owner and…

Practical advice

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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,…

DAIRY

4 ways top dairy farmers produce 1,000kg of MS a cow

Recent figures show the top 15% of Kite Consulting’s clients are producing between 840-1,000kg of milk solids (MS) a cow a year. Genetic data and management strategies were assessed from…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

6 ways to prevent stale dairy cows

Getting into the habit of giving cows numerous chances to get pregnant can lead to more animals with extended lactations and a negative fertility cycle that is hard to break.…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

4 steps to assessing your voluntary waiting period

Voluntary Waiting Periods – the interval postpartum when producers refrain from breeding cows – are typically 42 days on most UK dairy farms. But anecdotal data from 16 high-production herds…

CALVING

How to prevent and treat common problems at calving

For suckler farmers, income for the year is dependent on a successful calf crop, so keeping cows as healthy as possible at calving time is critical to ensure each animal…

Insights

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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…

How a switch to Irish dairy genetics could improve fertility

More and more block calving herds are capturing the “phenomenal” fertility benefits of Irish genetics, which are proving relevant to both spring and autumn-calving systems in the UK. The economic…

In pictures: Behind the scenes at a dairy bull stud

Every year, dairy cows across the UK are inseminated with £2m straws of semen from hundreds of different bulls. Wendy Short went behind the scenes at the Cogent UK Bull…

Jersey crosses proven to have fertility benefits

There is growing interest in cross-bred dairy cows and research has confirmed that crossing Holsteins with Jerseys does lead to improvements in health and fertility, due to hybrid vigour. One…

Jersey dairy cow six years after genetics ban

Six years ago, a 250-year ban on importing cow genetics on to the island of Jersey came to an end. Aly Balsom speaks to two producers with varying views on…