Target fertility performance is generally accepted as the production of one calf per cow per year. This can be difficult to achieve in practice due to increased energy demand for milk production. Poor fertility has a detrimental impact on profit margins due to extended calving intervals and increased culling rates.
- Transition diet is vital to enable fresh cows to maximise feed intake in early lactation. Good quality silage should be offered and cows should have adequate feed space.
- Reviva should be offered immediately after calving to stimulate appetite, aid rehydration and supply extra calcium.
- Aim to minimise or eliminate the negative energy balance by providing a high energy dense ration. Cows that lose more than 0.5 BCS in early lactation can delay onset of oestrus.
- Accurate heat detection is critical; observe cows 3 times for 20 minutes daily. Look for primary signs (mounting, increased activity) and also secondary signs (butting, licking, head resting). Ensure adequate floor space with non - slip surfaces to allow heat expression.
- A.I technique and timing are vital to achieve good conception rates. Apply the AM/PM rule if onset of oestrus is observed. Correct storage and thawing of A.I straws is important to maintain semen quality.
- Maintain accurate records of cows calved and cows that are cycling. All cows not observed in heat by day 50 should be examined.
- Minimise metabolic disorders such as milk fever, retained cleanings, ketosis, LDA’s, and fatty liver.