Franklin Vets Blog

Mating – How is it going?

October 7, 2020

The season has been kind and cows seem to be in good condition, so we expect mating to be going well. Advice is to look hard, and not expect it to be… as your vets are seeing a large amount of variation on farms.

Are you going to achieve 90% submission rate in the first three weeks?

This is the first Key Performance Indicator to aim for. Your herd total divided by 21 is the number you should be managing to put up each day. If this number is not being achieved, you do still have time to do something about it.

Ideally, non-cyclers are treated prior to mating but at least treating in the first 3 weeks or treating later calvers when they have calved at least 30 days may be required. Again, it does seem to depend on the farm and cow condition. Initially count how many “new” cycling cows you are getting each day and then please ring your vet and discuss.

In the second 3 weeks the Non-Return Rate (NNR) becomes valuable.

Are you finding enough cows in heat or are you achieving an unbelievable non-return rate? A NRR in the high 60’s seems believable. If the NRR is in the 70-region calculating how many bulls you need and getting them out working is probably the best option. If the bulls are going out earlier than last season look at last year’s pregnancy rate graph. Find out how many cows were pregnant at the week you are going to put bulls in. The herd needs 1 bull per 30 unpregnant cows at all times. If you rotate bulls every 24 hours (as is best practice) then you will need to double this number.dairy scan

Scanning can be undertaken 6 weeks after a cow has been mated. If we are set for a horrible dry summer maybe a very early scan in December will mean cows not calving to AI could be considered as an early cull to help the feed budget. Not a nice thought but maybe writing it will decrease the chance of it occurring. Here is hoping.

Dr Kris Brownlee BVSc