Grass is only just starting to really grow; cows haven’t milked as well as we would have liked, and it is not a surprise that there are plenty of non-cyclers about. Yep, we’ve got all the signs of a high payout year!
It is not time for taking your eye off the ball, just a few more weeks of hard slog and then you can let the bulls do their job.
The key is focusing on areas right now to make sure this season’s repro is the best you can make it, under the circumstances you have right now – don’t over complicate things!
- If your cows aren’t cycling use hormonal intervention, it provides the best return on investment (ROI) at this stage of the season (the earlier the better) and will give you peace of mind.
- Ensure your bulk tank protein test is climbing (or at least holding) – this is telling you cows are in positive energy balance (gaining condition) and are more likely to get in-calf early!
- Consider shortening the AB period to give yourself a break – BUT not without cranking up the bull numbers to account for the extra cows not-in-calf when the bulls go in. This will need some planning to be executed well.
- Keep team morale up during AB by making detection of heats a daily target i.e. instead of just celebrating the daily docket, celebrate the weekly cow numbers on heat.
- Keep monitoring pasture intakes (entry covers and residuals) so the cows are fully fed every day without wasting grass (which will create poor quality feed next round).
- Early identification and treatment of any sick or lame cows is important – prompt and significant intervention does influence reproductive outcomes in those animals. Ensure there is a bull in that sick mob just in case they come on heat.
If your submission numbers are dropping behind, you have a few options available – while we know that hormone intervention will give you the biggest return, if you aren’t keen on this strategy then putting cows on once-a-day (OAD) milking is another option but it needs to be done early in order to make a difference to repro outcomes. Please give your vet a call and chat about the options and how they might work on your farm.