Mating: early decisions crucial
7 November 2018
Reviewing performance during mating is just as important as afterwards. So is recording as much data as possible, regularly reviewing it and making timely decisions.
Record, record, record
Put that data in. The more information you enter in your recording system, the better decisions you and your advisers can make. Not everyone is a data-junkie, for sure, but if data is entered as the season progresses, you can track progress and spot when things are starting to go wrong.
Monitor submission rate and non-return rate
These will help you decide if you’re going to need more bull- power. Bull ratio is recommended at one bull to 30 non-pregnant cows. Your data can help you decide how many bulls you’re going to require; if you don’t have enough, you’ve still got time to make decisions. For example, should you get more bulls or continue with artificial breeding (AB) for a little longer? It’s too late to look back during pregnancy-testing time, only to find out the bull-mating period has let you down.
Reviewing regularly is also relevant for heat detection. If you are monitoring returns, then you can decide if anything needs to change. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You’ve got time to change heat detection practices, to help staff if they’re struggling, or even pull the pin early on AB and get the bulls on the job instead. Talk to your advisers before making these big decisions. Get help and prevent or reduce any problems you can when you’ve got the chance.
Want to know more?
DairyNZ’s InCalf Book has all the information you need to support you in achieving good reproductive performance. Recently updated, it’s available to download now from dairynz.co.nz/incalf or order your hard copy online – it’s free for levy payers!
Tip: Book your first round of pregnancy testing (test 11 to 14 weeks after mating start date and five weeks after mating end).
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