Successful Dairy Breeding Programs
Our dairies consistently run an average 21 day preg risk of 25 or higher.
Preparing the cows
- It’s no secret that good reproduction starts in the transition period (the period of time 60 day before she calves through 30 days after she calves). If you are experiencing problems with your herd’s pregnancy rate, you can bet we will be looking over this area as part of the review.
- There are a multitude of successful synchronization programs out there. Using the latest data available through the Dairy Cattle Reproductive Council, we work with you to figure out a program that will work with your parlor, barn and staff.
- Even more important, we work to monitor compliance with the program. The best program won’t work if we aren’t giving the shots on the right day, in the right location and at the right dose. We work with your employees to train them on all of this and the follow up with routine monitoring during pregchecking.
- Ultrasound – We use ultrasound on the early pregnancies (30 days to 75 days pregnant) because it gives us more information about the calves.
- First pregcheck is done starting at day 32
- Second confirmation pregcheck is done starting at day 60
- We can see the heartbeat and healthy placenta. More importantly, we can see when these are missing and tell you that the cow is already aborting so you don’t feed her for another 7 months.
- Previous breedings. If a cow is pregnant to a previous AI breeding, we can tell you how far along she is with our fetal aging metrics.
- Twins: We are always looking for twins on ultrasound. It is an advantage for the producer to know if a cow might need an earlier dry off date or assistance during calving.
- Fetal sexing: Some producers want to know the sex of the calf. Typically, this is to check sexed semen or for a pure bred female that they want to sell/keep based on the sex of the calf. Commercially, a live bull calf is not as valuable as a live heifer calf, but we aren’t going to sell a good cow just because she has a bull. The real value is a pregnancy. There is a very narrow range that we can sex the calf. We have to ultrasound them between 55 and 90 days to be accurate.
- Palpation – For pregnancies over 120 days, we use palpation. During this process, we are feeling for the calf’s head/feet, the cow’s uterine artery, and the overall size of the uterus to estimate how many months pregnant the cow is at that point.