Posted By: Paddy

Thoughts from our Directors

Our Top Ten Fertility Meeting was well attended with over 50 farmers present. I gave a review of fertility for all year-round calving herds, looking at both performance and approach. Pregnancy rate combines both heat detection and conception rates and is the most up to date approach to measuring fertility. Different computer systems give slightly different results, it was therefore challenging to get all farms assessed in the same way. Our high performing herds are typically achieving a pregnancy rate in the range 25-30. With a financial benefit of around £25 per cow for each percentage point improvement in pregnancy rate it is worth reviewing fertility with your routine vet. 

Results showed differences between farms in first service submission rates, returns rate and conception rates, important aspects that contribute to the pregnancy rate. While more than half of all herds use an activity system (collars, tags or legbands), high performing farms do more – using either Estrotects or some fixed time AI. Given many aspects of management, nutrition and health contribute to fertility it takes detailed knowledge of the farm to work out the right course of action. Rob looked at seasonal calving herds, highlighting the importance of calving pattern and breeding season in achieving target outcomes. Our Top Ten winners were Court Barn Farm for AYR performance and Whitehouse Farm for block calving performance who received a framed certificate and a bottle of sparkling wine – congratulations on impressive performances. 

Our next Top Ten meeting is a review of youngstock performance. We are also putting together a meeting for farm owners with an experienced industry manager, looking at how best to recruit and retain staff. Please contact the office if these meetings are of interest. 

Farms were split into 3 bands – gold, silver, bronze. High performing farms were serving more cows earlier, typically 70%, and sometimes 80%, of cows by 80 days calved. 

Chart shows approach to fertility across gold, silver and bronze performing farms. More than half of farms have an activity systemsystem, but this doesn’t guarantee good pregnancy rate. High performing farms do more – also using heatmount detectors or more fixed time AI 

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