For the vast majority of Spring calving herds, breeding season is in full swing. By now, farmer’s who have started inseminating since the beginning of May, are starting to pick up on their first round of repeats and non-cycling cows or heifers. This is a very critical part of the breeding season for many reasons, the main one being that this is their first glance at identifying any non-cycling cows if pre-breeding was not carried out in April. One of the most common forms of infertility on farms in Ireland and the United Kingdom is due to cows who are not cycling correctly. So, what does this mean for farmers?
- Overall submission and conception rates can be reduced.
- For dairy herds, there may have cows with fewer days in milk compared to other cows who have already held insemination (to AI or a stock bull) in their first cycle.
- Thin cows holding poor body condition after calving.
- Potential of having late calving cows coming into the Spring.
- Cows with other underlining health issues or concerns.
- A vet having to be brought onto the farm to assess any non-cycling and potentially problematic cows after calving or new breeding heifers.
If you are carrying too many non-cycling cows through your breeding season it can be a sign of poor body condition score (BCS) being maintained. Condition lost after calving can prove difficult to regain back to the recommended BCS of 3.0 from the start of breeding. Therefore, it is so important to ensure all cows lose no more than 0.5 of a BCS from when they calve down until the start of breeding. It is proven that cows calving with a body score under 3.0 will have a lower milk yield and take longer to get back in calf once breeding commences. All-in-all it can affect the rate of non-cycling cows throughout the herd. This is where increased feeding during lactation can benefit breeding cows who faced into a feed squeeze. In herds with appropriate nutrition, the effect on reproduction is slight. But for some farmers, a more appealing option may be to reduce their stocking rate to allow for a more even batch of calves coming into the Spring.
This is where teaser or vasectomised bulls can play a vital role in highlighting these cows during breeding. Whether you use the Moocall HEAT detection system or an alternative visual heat detection aid such as a chin-ball harness or tail paint, the teaser bull will be able to outline which ladies have not been cycling yet. Through silent heats, the bull doesn’t necessarily always mount the cow or heifer but he will have a certain level of activity with her and this is where the Moocall HEAT collar can strive to allow you to ensure no heats go undetected. The bull is the professional working in the field 24/7, and the collar is simply just working off the back of nature in its approach to let farmer’s know when cows are entering heat for the optimal time to serve using artificial insemination (AI).
In summary, having a live bird’s eye view of what happening in the field during breeding season is at the utmost importance for the farmer. The ability to be in full control of what is happening with each cow within the herd allows him or her address each animal individually where a possible cycling issue may lie. Whether she is failing to return to cycle after 60 days post calving, having a delay in ovulation, or has not met ideal breeding standards, the farmer must act effectively to avoid any major impacts on fertility.
For further advice on any of the above, contact a member of the Moocall team to speak to some of our breeding specialists on +353 1 96 96 038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about Moocall HEAT here: https://moocall.com/pages/moocall-heat-information