Delay service to lift fertility
CONSIDER delaying service when dairy cows are unsettled, observe the herd more frequently and improve management of cows waiting service to help boost fertility.
Where rations have been changed suddenly because of recent bad weather, or cows are in poor condition, consider delaying service to improve conception rates, advises SAC animal production specialist Peter Ball.
"We know that conception rates are poor at turnout – due to perhaps stress, nutritional changes or nitrogen on spring grass – and when cows are in poor condition. Where this is the case, its probably better to give cows time to settle down before serving."
Better observation can also dramatically increase reproductive efficiency, he says. "Efficiency of oestrus detection is only 55% – no better than 20 years ago. Although Kamars and tail paint help in some cases they also increase risk of false detection. However, new research shows that increasing observation from one to two times a day to four times increases oestrus detection by 10%," stresses Dr Ball. *