Franklin Vets Blog

3-week submission rate key to good in-calf rates

October 30, 2019

Achieving good herd in-calf rates are a critical part of a successful dairy farm operation. 3-week submission rate is one of the key ingredients to achieving your target 6-week in calf rate. Are you putting up enough cows to hit the 90% 3-week submission rate target?mixed herd at the trough

The rate is easily monitored via MINDA live if you use LIC. If your herd is less than 81% seek veterinary advice. Depending on the causes of the poor submission rate it may be possible to take immediate corrective action.

Possible contributing factors to a below-target submission rate

  • Heat detection is one area to consider. Were there possibly a number of cows with silent of short heats that were not submitted for AI? Is everything being done to maximise the chance of an on-heat cow being submitted for AI? There is always the possibility of using additional detection aids, paddock checks etc.
  • Making sure heifers reach target live weights. If heifers enter the milking herd below target live weight, they are at higher risk of not cycling in the first 3 weeks of mating. Monitoring live weights of growing heifers, comparing these to targets and addressing gaps helps maximise their performance in the herd.
  • Achieving condition score targets for calving. Had the herd reached condition score 5 for mature cows and 5.5 for heifers and second calvers?
  • Cow health events – such as cows with metabolic issues, lameness, mastitis, assisted calvings, and cows with uterine infections post-calving. Adverse health events may reduce submission rates. It may be worth reviewing and identifying the areas of concern and making adjustments to minimise issues for the following seasons.


  • There are management options for cows not detected on heat. These include non-cycling treatments, which increases their submission rate and 6-week in calf rate.
  • A review of the herd’s data to identify which contributing factors may be relevant to your farm should be done to identify both short-term and long-term opportunities.
  • There are other options around feeding, mob management and milking frequency, although many of these strategies take time to be effective.
  • Talk to your vet if your submission rate is not where you want it to be. We can help you devise solutions for the short term and identify long term strategies to improve the herd’s performance.

Dr Graeme Charteris BVSc