Fertility, how can we measure it; how can we manage it optimally? You will find the chapter on fertility in your manual beginning on page 7-1. Feel free to follow along and make notes.
Dairy producers need cows to calve regularly to maximize milk production, a beef producer needs a calf every year. As we learned in the “equation of reproduction” semen fertility is one of the factors that can have a positive or negative impact on pregnancy results. ABS maintains the highest standards for our bulls.
Let’s look at some of the areas now.
Here are the factors that contribute to a herds conception rate. How can we manage them to maximize fertility?
Here are factors that contribute to heat detection efficiency. How can we mange these efficiently?
Key factors to understand and manage.
How many heifers do you want to freshen per month to maintain cash flow?
Do you know how many females are available today?
Are your heats detected accurate? This is a good tool to spot check accuracy.
How many were serviced during the period? How many became pregnant? This is your conception rate.
Lists focus us in the right areas. What other lists might be appropriate here? Maybe cows available to breed, heat lists of cows due in this window, etc.
Goals for each of the factors we have discussed.
Properly inseminating a female who’s estrus was incorrectly identified won’t help your pregnancy rates. Missing heats gives us no chance to get a pregnancy. Proper time spent heat detecting by a conscientious and knowledgeable person is invaluable and critical to a reproduction program.
Comfortable cows perform the best.
A tool that is available to you on the ABS website. This worksheet helps evaluate activity in the herd, a cow needs to lay down and masticate 60% of the day, that is a little over 14 hours. When you alter that because of milking times, etc. fertility is affected.
There is a point of being too conservative or too aggressive. There are multiple factors that control your herd's fertility.
Looking at semen under a microscope is subjective, a time lapse photograph is objective. What is important are the live sperm cells not the dead ones.
A good practice is to periodically evaluate the performance of those doing the inseminating.
Spot check your heat detectors from time to time with the progesterone test.
A cow has an order of life, 1) she needs enough feed to survive, 2) with that met she will come into heat and reproduce, 3) if she gets enough feed she will produce enough milk to raise a calf, or in the case of a dairy cow a hundred or more calves. If she doesn’t have those needs met reproduction is the first thing negatively affected.
Work with your vet to develop the right vaccination program for your herd and your area.
It takes 9 months to produce a calf, to have a cow calve every 12 to 13 months, we have a window of 95 days to get her bred back. Take away the 45 day VWP and we have a little over 2 heat cycles to get the job done.
A good investment.
Have a system to monitor these factors, and be proactive when a problem is identified.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.