Synchronization protocols evolve rapidly as newer procedures are tested and improvements are made. To help veterinarians and industry professionals deal with rapid change and make informed decisions related to synchronization protocols, the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council (DCRC) has created synchronization protocol sheets for dairy cows and dairy heifers.
Earlier in the year, I attended the Four-State Dairy Nutrition and Management Conference, where many of the topics focused on transition cow care. One of the big take-home points from more than one speaker was that prevention of clinical disease is vital for long-term success of your cows. Issues during the transition period are associated with reduced reproduction and milk production. Prevention is followed closely by early diagnosis of clinical disease issues.
Over the past two decades, a reproduction revolution has occurred in the dairy industry. Twenty years ago, the 21-day pregnancy rate in U.S. dairy herds averaged about 14% with conception rates rarely exceeding 40%. In 1998, the annualized 21-day pregnancy rate goal was 20%, which few herds could achieve.
In 2020, there were multiple calves found unable to stand at birth or shortly after and were then seen by veterinarians in Pennsylvania. Calves were either weak and unable to stand immediately after birth, could stand with assistance, or lost the ability to stand within the first two weeks of life.
Early in April, the Council for Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) released one of the three-times-a-year updates to sire summaries. It can be a lot like looking through seed catalogs to find what bulls to select for the future of your herd. The rankings of bulls keep on getting better, and fast!
Estrus detection, commonly referred to as heat detection, is one of the most important reproductive management tasks performed on the farm. Simply put, if cows are not identified in estrus they will not be bred by Artificial Insemination (AI) and have no chance of becoming pregnant. Estrus detection accuracy is also critical.
Using proper injection techniques for animal health products, including reproductive hormones, helps ensure products work effectively. In addition, it is important to safely handle animals and health products to protect both farm workers and animals.
Maintaining a successful reproductive program in our modern dairy and beef operations requires dedication. While it is rewarding to hear a pronouncement of pregnancy, there is not much the manager can do with that information, except wait.
The use of beef sires on dairy females has continued to be a common and growing management practice on dairy farms. During the summer of 2021, UW-Madison Division of Extension educators surveyed 40 dairy farms known to be using beef sires to breed dairy females to assess their beef x dairy sire selection criteria, selection of dairy females to breed to beef sires, newborn calf management, milk feeding practices, and how they market their beef x dairy cattle.
Dairy cattle selection programs aim to improve the profitability and sustainability of the dairy industry, either by targeting traits that increase revenue or traits that reduce expenses. Fertility is one of several major trait categories that includes production, longevity, health, calving ability, conformation, and sustainability.