Franklin Vets Blog

Premating Planning

September 6, 2021

Now it’s September and most cows have calved it’s time to turn our attention to premating planning to ensure next year’s production.

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to metri-check your herd.tail paint

This will allow for the identification and treatment of any dirty cows leftover from calving. Cows that are left untreated may be cycling at the planned start of mating (PSM) however, they will not be able to conceive. The best time to metri-check a cow is 2-4 weeks post-calving and therefore it’s best to have the herd checked over multiple occasions.

Ideally, cows will have had 1-2 heat cycles before PSM, as with every heat a cow has pre-mating, her chances of conceiving to her first mating increase.  This will improve your 6-week in-calf rate. Tail painting is a quick and easy way to monitor cycling activity. Tails should be painted 4-6 weeks prior to PSM. Any cows that have not shown signs of heat activity a week out from PSM should be checked by a vet. Many that aren’t cycling at this point will likely be suitable to undergo a CIDR program to stimulate cycling, allowing them to still conceive early into mating.

Over the winter months, a cow’s mineral levels naturally drop. Now is a great time to boost them back up again. Copper and selenium/B12 are the main minerals to improve at this time and both can easily be supplemented via injections. Before supplementing it’s best to have an accurate idea of copper and selenium levels which is best done through liver biopsies. If boosting copper levels, it’s important that this is done at least 4 weeks before PSM otherwise it can have a negative effect on fertility. Don’t forget about your Heifers!vet liver biopsy

The final consideration before mating kicks off is your cow’s body condition, as this too has a significant effect on fertility. At the time of mating cows and first calvers should have a body condition score of 4 and 4.5 respectively. This is particularly important for your first-time calvers and getting them back in calf again. Any cows that are in light condition should be swapped to once-a-day milking now to decrease energy output.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call one of our clinics to book a free pre-mating consult.

Dr Neil Murray VetDr Neil Murray BVSc – Farm Vet at Paeroa Vets