The concept of herd performance through Nutrition Driven Fertility, is not a new one. However the approach of joining up all the key people involved on farm has been one that has been more difficult to establish.
Fertility and fertility monitoring has historically been the soul responsibility of the Vet, apart from when there is a poor PD session and it becomes a problem that is firmly placed at the nutritionists door. So how do we go about monitoring and managing this a bit more regularly in conjunction with the vet to ensure progress and what figures should we be looking at.
Analysing and planning are important for all businesses in order to optimise performance and drive profitability. On the dairy farm the are a variety of Key Performance Indicators that allow us to identify factors that may potentially restrict the ability of that business to be successful. It is also important to use KPIs that are relevant and simple to interpret, giving us information that tells us what’s happening right now, and not something that happened last year, which influences the figure we’re looking at currently.
One such figure is Calving interval that tells us the time span between the last two times the cow calved. This is very historical and it is not a measure of how successful we are at creating pregnancies at this moment in time.
Conception rate at 1st service; this tells us how many pregnancies were created the 1st time a cow was served. It doesn’t tell us what her Days in milk were when she was served, nor does it tell us how many other cows should have been served at the same time; therefore if one cow was served for the first time at 200 DIM and became pregnant, we have a 100% success rate, don’t we?
There is a direct correlation between pregnancy production and profitability, although any improvement in reproduction performance today will only result in an increase in cashflow in 11 months time, when the cow has calved again and is reaching her peak yield.
Successful transition of the cow from the dry period into lactation is extremely important as everyone in the industry is constantly reiterating. Cows culled before 60 DIM are costly. Being able to identify and measure the KPIs that demonstrate it’s success or failure in a concise and simple manor are important for performance in the ensuing lactation.
Recording any and all metabolic disorders at calving are very important, but what about subclinical issues? There are a number of issues that may not present obvious symptoms and they will only become apparent when the cow’s yield is limited, and a delay to 1st oestrous followed by repeat service after repeat service. Prevention is always better than cure, and we need to use the right measures to identify where we need to improve, if at all.
Looking at the 305 yield or the lactation yield is great to tell us what the cow has done, but what is she doing now? What is her peak yield? How many days until she reaches her peak yield? If the group of animals that calved in December aren’t performing as well as the November calvers, why not? Do cows milk really well in the 1st month after calving and then drop? We need to investigate and prevent the issue from happening again.
Using Dairy Comp 305, Crediton Milling has the ability to download milk recording files from NMR, CIS and QMMS, and produce a report on the whole herd performance, including: heat detection/heat expression, conception rates in early lactation, pregnancy production, transition success, peak milk yield trends, energy supply in early lactation, SCC analysis for new infection rates and chronic infections. Being able to pull a variety of information together and provide a “Herd Appraisal Report” allows Crediton Milling to support and assist diary producers with analysis and planning, therefore maintaining performance and
MATT HUTCHINGS 07711 780858
FEED & FERTILITY SPECIALIST