Now we are in the second half of November most dairy farms in the South your first 3 weeks of mating will be about done. For the most part, the arrival of better weather and improving cow condition has reduced the number of non-cyclers. This is great for two reasons. The most obvious is lower animal health costs, but even better than that is the cows we are treating we should see even better conception rates and so even higher return on the investment.
To be on track for a successful mating the industry target is to have 90% of cows submitted for mating by this time. Herds that hit this target will have more early calving cows, lower empty rates, less late calving cows, and ultimately more days in milk in the following season. How successful your mating is a big driver of the overall profitability of your farm.
One of the biggest factors influencing how early cows are submitted for mating and how early they get in calf, is the length of time between calving and mating. Cows calving from the middle of September onwards are at especially high risk of getting in calf late or being empty following the mating period. This is largely because a lot of them have not cycled prior to mating start date, or are having their first heat during the mating period which has a lower chance of conception. Our focus now is what can we do to get them to calve earlier next year.
So what is your number?
What percentage of your herd has been submitted for mating already?
Did your calving period this year feel like it dragged on and on?
If you have concerns then contact your KeyVet about what help can be done. It could be that a CIDR or Ovsynch programme would be a good option to get a rapid increase in submission rates, and giving more cows the opportunity to get in calf early and get in calf to AI. With a good start to the season for a lot of farms this year, we are looking like we will have a great response to CIDR interventions so take advantage of this. Stay one step ahead, don't leave it too late just to find out how good or bad things went at scanning time. There is still time!
- Joel Hughes