Monitoring your submission rate during mating is very important, as it allows early detection if there is a problem during mating. If your submission rates are poor, your reproductive performance will be poor. High performing farms will achieve around 95% 3-week submission rate in their early calved, mature cows, with anything under 90% considered low and requiring intervention.
Low submission rates can be driven by one or both of two things:
- Cows are cycling normally, but heats are not being detected
- Cows are not cycling normally, resulting in a high number of “non-cyclers”
Detecting heat can be a high-stress job during mating, as there are serious repercussions if it is done incorrectly. For most herds it will be close to a year since the last time you were recording heats, so recording pre-mating heats is a good way to get your eye in. Make sure you have one or two people responsible for heat detection and make sure they have adequate time to observe the cows to detect the cows that are cycling. If you are still struggling, or feel like there is an issue with your herd, talk to your vet as we will be able to help you work through and find a solution that will suit your farm.
If you have a true non-cycler problem, early identification and intervention will help prevent it becoming a major issue. Recording pre-mating heats for five weeks prior to planned start of mating will allow identification of non-cycling cows, and allow a non-cycler programme to be done before planned start of mating to give them the best chance of getting in-calf early. If you are having problems with non-cyclers every year, discuss it with your vet as there are multiple ways we can help tackle this issue in your herd.