Top farmers will now be making time to find out how reproduction went – this is one of the most important reviews of the season, and can be the difference between remaining static or making good progress in 2016/2017.
LIC Reproduction Solutions Advisor, Jair Mandriaza-Munoz, runs through highly recommended reports for reviewing how things went during the spring of 2015.
Early aged pregnancy testing data is carried out with the intention to gain accurate measures of both the six week in-calf rate and the ‘not in-calf rate’ of the herd. To find out how well things have gone is simple: head to www.minda.co.nz and click on Pregnancy under the Reproduction section.
Reproduction tab in MINDA
The Whole Herd graphic will provide both the six week in-calf rate and the not-in-calf rate, along with a table that allows comparisons to be made against previous seasons (NB: results should only be compared when all relevant seasons have accurate early-aged pregnancy testing data recorded).
Irrespective of results, look through reports to discover possible opportunities for improvement next season. Keep in-mind the key influencers of herd reproductive performance, outlined in DairyNZ’s In-Calf programme (the eight pieces of the reproductive cake):
8 Pieces of the Reproductive Cake
MINDA Reproduction provides farmers with a suite of reports that help identify which pieces of the cake should be the focus – or where the greatest areas for improvement lie (for example, after consulting with the vet, cow health might not be a problem, but poor a submission rate might indicate a problem with heat detection practices). Research shows calving pattern has a big impact on herd reproductive performance.
The In-Calf by Calving Pattern report and associated graphic will highlight areas of comfort or concern, and helps quantify how big an influence calving pattern had on the herd. Management of heifer performance can be illustrated by both MINDA Weights (this monitors growth rates against industry targets) and a graphic that displays in-calf rates by age group (this provides a view of how well first-calvers performed reproductively compared to other age groups; this also provides good insight into which age groups may have struggled).
Body Condition Score (BCS) is among the biggest drivers of a herd’s productive and reproductive performance. The Body Condition Score section within MINDA Repro provides distribution and averages in the herd’s various age groups (when individual body condition scores are recorded for cows). If the BCS is one month either side of Planned Start of Calving or Mating Start Date you can view the different BCS groups in terms of reproductive performance (using the In-Calf Rates by Body Condition Scores Report). An understanding of how BCS affects reproductive performance will allow strategies to be put in place to ensure animals go into calving and mating at optimal BCS.
The In-Calf Rates by Diagnosis report allows good insight in to the impact of (i) anoestrous, and (ii) health treatments, on reproductive performance. By selecting up to two groups of treatments, graphical comparisons can be drawn between animals affected and animals not affected (a table complements the graph). For each of the In-Calf rate reports mentioned above, there are correspondent Conception Rate reports available. This should help gain an appreciation of the influence each factor (calving pattern, heifer management, body condition, cow health) has on a cow’s ability to convert an AB mating into pregnancy.
Service bulls do not have a specific report but the In-Calf rate for the Whole Herd report provides an idea of natural mate bull performance. Track the rate of cows getting pregnant in the period after the ‘End of AB mating period’ line – where sudden changes in the rate of cows getting pregnant can be discussed with a rural professional. Heat detection efficiency indicators are located in the Mating section of MINDA Reproduction.
An Early Calved Mature Cows graph provides a view of how well adult cows calved eight weeks or more before mating start date: This group of cows has absolutely no excuse not to be cycling by the time mating starts.
The Early Indicator – Repeat Matings report provides a meaningful measure of heat detection efficiency in the first 17 days of mating.
Once 24 days of mating have elapsed, the Return interval Analysis report becomes the ‘go-to’ option.
LIC’s Farm Solutions Managers a can help farmers navigate reports, and it is recommended rural professionals be involved when reviewing reproductive performance and formulating plans.