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6 Tips for Reproduction Management

July 4, 2013
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Higher total life-time milk production and more calves born per year are just two of the economic benefits of improved reproduction.

Source: Alltech

Higher total life-time milk production and more calves born per year are just two of the economic benefits of improved reproduction.

Best practices for improved reproduction performance include observation and quality insemination as well as the following factors:

1. Nutrition - Providing a well-balanced ration not only results in more milk, but also in better reproductive performance. Good nutrition means the provision of sufficient energy, proteins, minerals, vitamins and quality roughage.

2. Heat detection - This component has a major influence on the length of the calving interval. It's key to have a plan in place months prior to breeding as there are multiple factors that make heat detection less complicated. The signs of estrous can be classified in three sections:

a. Early heat period - Early signs of cow heat can last anywhere from 6 to 24 hours; a clear indicator is not standing when mounted.

b. Standing heat period - This follows the early heat period and can last 6 to 18 hours; a common sign is standing while being mounted.

c. Late heat period - Some cows continue to show behavioral estrous signs for 12 to 24 hours after the standing heat period.

3. Regular observation and proper recording - Recommended monitoring would include three check-ups a day; one in the morning and afternoon (before and after milking) as well as in the evening. A proper heat check will take at least 20 minutes each time and is easiest to spot during cooler periods of the day. Any and all data relating to the cow's reproductive status should be recorded. Some of the common practices are cow calendars, fertility and health monitor charts, individual cow records and computerized systems.

4. Inseminating at the right time – Inseminating during the end of the standing heat perior or at the start of the late heat period ensures the best results. If estrous is observed in the morning, cows should be inseminated later that day. If they're still in heat the next morning, they should be re-inseminated. When estrous is first detected in the afternoon or evening, insemination can safely be postponed to the next morning.

5. Interval from calving to first insemination - In order to allow cows to restore their bodies and maintain an average calving interval of one year, the average cow should be inseminated 90 days after calving or the second or third heat after calving. The best results should be obtained by an experience AI technician or someone properly trained. Monitoring the individual results of the technicians performing the inseminations helps to evaluate and improve the pregnancy results.

6. Hygiene - If the cow's vulva, birth-ropes and your hands are not clean, uterine inflammation may occur. This affects fertility and will take a longer amount of time before the uterus is ready for another pregnancy.

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