A consistent reproduction program does not happen by accident. The most successful farms have reproductive management as part of the daily routine and monitor performance often. Reproduction, without a doubt, drives dairy farms’ efficiency and profitability.
In March, I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Paul Fricke from the University of Wisconsin talk about the four keys to a 30% pregnancy rate. Around 15 years ago, the average pregnancy rates in the upper Midwest were about 15% and the goal was set at 20%. Currently there are many herds that achieve a 22-25% pregnancy rate and 30% is an achievable number. If your pregnancy rate is below 20%, there is great efficiency and monetary gain to be made by improving pregnancy rate.
Dr. Fricke’s Four Keys to Achieving a 30% Pregnancy Rate
1. Aggressively inseminate cows at the end of the voluntary waiting period. Make sure that all cows are getting inseminated in an appropriate amount of time after the end of the voluntarily waiting period. That involves looking at synchronization programs as well as any natural heat AI’s to make sure that cows are getting inseminated in a timely manner.
2. Increase the fertility of the first AI. There is a lot of recent research on synchronization programs. If your first service conception rate is low, it is time to review the synchronization program and determine if your program needs an update.
3. Aggressively inseminate open cows. A high pregnancy rate needs a program to find the majority of open cows prior to pregnancy check.
4. Increase the fertility to repeat AI breedings. There is new research on increasing the fertility to repeat AI breedings.
All of our clients have a reproduction program, but it is important to review the performance of the program on at least an annual basis. As new information comes out, we want to make sure that you are using the program that works best for your labor system as well as utilizing the latest research. If you are ready to review reproduction performance on your dairy, please give us a call.