Do you know your submission rate to first service? What about submission rate to the first cycle after service if not pregnant (often termed the 18 -25 day detection rate) and your conception rate to first and subsequent services? Are they good, average or poor?
My experience is that block calving herds know the above answers, but all year round calving herds are not quite so sure! And, extrapolating from the block calving herds, one needs to look at these figures on a 3-4 month basis rather than relying on the rolling 12 month average given by many software programmes.
Please ask your routine vet what the targets should be for your own herd.
If your herd fertility parameters are below target, then further investigation is warranted – there are numerous causes, often with multiple factors at play at the same time.
Most dairy farms will have had reproductive hormone treatments used on individuals, or groups of cows and/or heifers, to help improve overall fertility performance. How many of you (vets and farmers!) truly know how successful they are in achieving a pregnancy?
Regular monitoring of the conception rate to these treatments is essential. How does it compare to services following standing heat, or those indicated by activity monitors? This may vary between groups of animals within a herd – for example, maiden heifers vs milking cattle, 1st calvers vs mature cows – and may also change with time (usually related to nutritional changes).
A recent study by Edinburgh University has concluded that compliance with the time schedules of the various hormonal synchronisation programmes is vital for good results.
Other studies indicate that, for progesterone-based protocols (using PRIDs), two injections of prostaglandin 24 hours apart (at device removal and a day later) also favour conception rate.
Get checking… or ask one of us!