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Pregnancy and reproduction in dairy cows

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How to optimise reproduction and reduce involuntary culling in dairy cows.

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Pregnancy and reproduction in dairy cows

  1. 1. IMPROVE YOUR COWS’ LIFE TIME PRODUCTIVITY Difficulties in getting the cow pregnant are the main reason for involuntary culling. Optimal fertility is a key driver of cow longevity and profitability “Did you know that the optimal calving interval is 12-13 months?” 1
  2. 2. FERTILITY PROBLEMS ARE INCREASING There has been a negative trend over many years with a number of fertility problems affecting modern dairy cows: INCREASED NUMBER OF UTERUS INFLAMMATION LONGER INTERVAL TO NORMALITY OF SEXUAL ORGANS WEAKER HEAT SIGNS LOWER EGG QUALITY EARLY EMBRYONIC DEATH Fertility problems are often caused by infections or stress, but can also depend on season, herd size, age composition and managerial factors such as breeding policy and nutrition 2
  3. 3. MAN-HOURS PER COW ARE DECREASING The direct result is that less time remains for detecting heats Which cow needs attention? Selection for milk yield has made the modern dairy cow increasingly susceptible to shortcomings in management or nutrition 3
  4. 4. Ideally your cows will get pregnant every 12-13 months. In some parts of the world the calving interval is 16-17 months and the average number of calves per cow and year can be as low as 0.6 The optimal calving interval is 12-13 months That’s almost one calf per cow & year Ideal calving interval = 12-13 months In many parts of the world calving interval = 16-17 months For every day calving interval is extended farmers will lose money (on average 3 Euros per cow and day) 4
  5. 5. CORNERSTONES OF A HIGH PREGNANCY RATE 1. OPTIMISED HEAT DETECTION 2. OPTIMISED FEED INTAKE AFTER CALVING 3. HEALTHY AND WELL- MANAGED COWS 5
  6. 6. 1. OPTIMISED HEAT DETECTION On average around half of the heats can be observed through normal management. Advanced milk analysis tools can detect heat with an accuracy of 95% and inform you when to perform optimal insemination 6
  7. 7. 2. OPTIMISED FEED INTAKE AFTER CALVING OPTIMAL FEED INTAKE IS ONLY POSSIBLE IF: ● cows are not too fat at calving (BCS = 3.5) ● cows are fed high quality and tasty rations ● cows are in optimal health (don’t forget hooves and legs) ● stress is avoided around the moment of calving (avoid changing of groups) ● rations are not changed near calving ● there is enough feed and enough room to eat for every cow Today’s high-producing dairy cow needs excellent care after calving in order to resume feed consumption promptly7
  8. 8. 3. HEALTHY AND WELL-MANAGED COWS Optimise feed intake Provide recently calved cows plenty of comfort and space Reduce heat stress by cooling Minimise lameness 8
  9. 9. © DeLaval 2014 Sources: www.delaval.com/HappyCows

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