Missed breeding opportunities carry a significant cost
This is a critical stage of the breeding season and the challenges come under the following headings:
- Heat detection
- Stock Bulls
- Herd Health
Farmers are placing greater focus on the use of aids for heat detection as the primary way to identify cows for AI. These aids include tail paint, scratch cards, teaser bulls, and activity monitoring devices attached to either the ear, neck, leg or inserted in the stomach.
Unfortunately these aids can result in cows either not being detected in heat or presented for AI when not in heat or indeed pregnant. This is a significant cause of concern as missed breeding opportunities cost in excess of €250.
Farmers have completed at least three weeks of AI. They are being encouraged to synchronise heats in those cows not detected.
In my experience the one size fits all approach does not address the needs of the herd.
If there are underlying stressors, those synchronisation programmes to induce heats will not work either in terms of heats detected or the fertility behind the breeding programme.
The oestrus synchronisation programmes are most successful if the cows are already cycling and heats have been missed.