Fertility and management in the dairy cow

Poor fertility is still the largest contributor to involuntary culling in dairy herds.  Four key areas to manage and improve the fertility of the dairy cow include:

Infectious diseases: Ensure cow is healthy and monitor and treat any post calving uterine infections. Put an effective programme against infectious diseases that contribute to infertility (such as BVD, Lepto, Salmonella, Neospora) in place.

Nutrition: Routine monitoring of BCS pre and post calving should be carried out to maximise health and fertility performance and minimise negative energy balance post calving in the transient cow. Ensure trace element supplementation with Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Cobalt to maximise fertility.

Genetics: At breeding, use high genetic merit bulls for your replacement heifers. Also, follow high EBI indices.

Breeding management: Target a 365 day calving interval, a 280-300 day lactation and compact calving. Heat detection, correct AI technique and also stock bull management are important. Monitor submission rates, pregnancy rates and conception rates.