Breeding season is around the corner for most farmers across the country. It is important that you are adequately prepared for the season in order to fulfil herd performance potential.
Teagasc has outlined that the primary objective for the forthcoming breeding season is to maximise the retention rate of cows in the herd to calve again in 2021.
In a recent video, the state agency outlined the aims of the breeding season. “Our target replacement rate is 18-20% so our aim is to retain 80-82% of the cows. What we do over the next couple of weeks will influence how successful we will be in this objective.”
Three key areas
There are three key areas that should be addressed prior to the breeding season. These are as follows:
Pre-breeding heat detection;
“Clip the rumps to improve tail paint application and to help eliminate confusion around tail paint removal later in the season when layering will occur if not clipped. Tail paint should be applied in a narrow strip approximately 9 inches long and 1.5-2 inches wide. Note tail paint removed from cows each week. Don’t invest excessive time in this task – your objective is to identify cows that haven’t cycled and have tail paint remaining just prior to breeding.”
Body Condition Score monitoring;
“Monitor the condition score of the cows in the herd. Consider putting thin cows (2.5-2.7) on once-a-day milking to, at a minimum, prevent further condition loss and ideally improve condition and consequently, improve her breeding performance.”
Check problem cows.
“Any cows that had trouble during the calving season can be metri-checked to check if they have an infection and can be treated accordingly, scanning is also an option to see if cows are cycling. The earlier that any infections or non-cycling cows are identified, the better their breeding outcomes are likely to be so early intervention is key.”