It has been widely reported that the reproductive performance of the NZ dairy cow was declining in the early part of the new millennium. The major challenge in the NZ system is the non-cycling cow. Emphasis on Body Condition Score (BCS), and selection of fertility in the Breeding Value (BV) have improved some of these fertility measures. The reduced payout in recent years has reduced the level of supplementary feeding in response and another deterioration in some herds for fertility measures. With about 20% of the herd not cycling in most herds before planned start of mating, we get asked if treating non-cyclers early gives the greatest return on investment.

Studies show that early treated cows produced 16 days more milk, 10% more AB calves and 12% fewer non-cyclers next lactation compared to no treatment. At $5.25 payout and 1.2 KgMS/day that equates to $100/cow. We recommend the Prosynch PLUS programme and it includes ‘Equine Chorionic Gonadotrophin’ (eCG) added with Prostaglandin (PG)when the Cidr’s are removed on Day 7. For a reduced price to last year’s programme we recommend this to improve 28 day in-calf rates. A 5% better result is seen. That equates to an additional 4 days milk and $29.30 increase in gross revenue.

What about the other ‘quick fixes’ – once a day milking or extra supplements? It appears there are some benefits (which are rational) but not nearly sufficient in time to have an impact that is immediately worthwhile or cost effective compared to non-cycling treatment.

Breeding management plans are helpful in coordinating non-cyclers and pregnancy testing. They are calendar based upon intervention and organisation. The ‘in-Calf’ approach is more holistic looking at the farm system and helps identify ‘gaps’ in performance, prioritising areas for intervention and developing plans to deal with identified gaps adopted. We offer reproduction consultations for no cost (about 45-60 minutes) and free tailpaint!. Remember the high correlation of anoestrous syndrome to Body Condition Score (BCS). Now is the right time to do a herd BCS assessment for $50.

Call the clinic today to discuss with a vet.

David McDonnell  BVSc, MACVSc, DipBusStud