Mating Focus

by Jennie Macky, Anna Whitfield – Vetfocus

Assess your performance

  • Are you really as good as you think you are?
  • How do you assess your past performance?
  • Have you heard of a Fertility Focus Report?
    • Available from Minda, Mistro and InfoVet.
    • Targets are average of top 25% of farmers reproductive performance.
  • Have you seen a Return Interval Analysis report?

Fertility Focus Report

Common farmer issues with the report:

  • Incorrect cow numbers (carryovers included but forgotten).
  • Not submitting culls for AB or running non-cyclers with the bull, heats are not captured in the records, along with carryovers.
  • Using CIDRs, ovsynch etc artificially lifts submission rates and heat detection measures.
  • Understanding removal of cows has impact on final figure, report makes assumptions for their reproductive outcome.
  • Partial report unless early pregnancy testing done to confirm all data.
  • FFR can be trusted if farm data is accurate!

Case example:

  • Heat detection
  • 3 week submission rate
  • 3 week submission rate of first calvers
  • % of herd in calf graph
  • 6 week in calf rate and MT rate

Return Interval Analysis


Veterinary intervention

  • Nutrition – monitor BCS pre-calving and post-calving – act early to avoid a disaster
  • Premating heats
    • Targets are 75% cycled 10 days prior to PSM, 85%cycled at PSM.
    • Useful for staff training, heat detection system review.
    • Reference for heats during AB if recorded.
    • Early detection of problems?
  • Why Wait program – for cycling cows only
    • Condenses first 3 weeks of mating into first 10 days.
    • Need to be prepared for following calving season – staff, feed etc.
    • Requires detection of premating heats, a good tail paint system and good organization and record keeping.
  • CIDRs – most cost effective when done early i.e. 10 days prior to PSM
  • Heifer Synchrony
    • Heifers need to have reached target weight and puberty to give good results – MINDA Weights.
    • CIDR vs double PG.
    • AB Calves, faster genetic gain, more days in milk, more time to get ready for following mating.
    • Need to be able to manage heifers at calving, lots of bull power for subsequent cycles (1 bull can only mate approx. 3 animals per day), heat detection methods.

Bull power

Plenty of bulls and good management can make up for early breeding mistakes.

  • Numbers – heaps!!! (not a liability).
  • Minimum number required in herd at any one time thus need to double this.

  • Get on farm early so can sort out social order.
  • Keep in same subgroups for rotation.
  • BVD test and vaccinate at least 8 weeks prior.
  • Rotation – daily.
  • Not allowed on yard.
  • Remove immediately if lame – can affect sperm production for 6 weeks thus remove completely.

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