Farm Ireland

Saturday 15 December 2018

Synchronisation - what will work on my farm?


Eamon Connell

Synchronisation involves the hormonal manipulation of the cow's reproductive cycle.

The aim of this is to get more cows bulling in a shorter period of time to maximise labour efficiency and ultimately, get more cows in calf.

How it works?

Synchronisation is particularly useful in heifers. All heifers in the group are given prostaglandin on day 0. Any showing signs of heat are served on day 2 - day 5.

Any heifers that haven't shown signs of heat receive a second shot of prostaglandin on day 11 and are served on signs of heat.

Another method of synchronisation is the use of a cidr or prid (pictured). This is a device that is inserted into the vagina of the cow. It slowly releases the hormone progesterone, which acts as a primer for the ovaries.

When the CIDR is removed eight days later, the ovaries will begin to function and a heat will follow quite quickly.

What are the advantages of synchronisation?

Every spring, we hear of the advantages of synchronisation, the best of which are increased submission rates and increased pregnancy rates.

However, before any farmer undertakes to implement a synchronisation protocol, the following question deserves some serious contemplation: If I synchronise, can I handle the number of cows and heifers that will come bulling in a short period?

Also Read

Labour is a big issue on farms at present. Careful consideration should be given to whether there are enough people and spare hours to heat detect, draft and AI the number of animals that will come bulling when synchronised.

Take, for example, 60 heifers. On average, two of these will show heat per day if left to their own devices. If they all receive prostaglandin, 40 or so will be bulling over a three-day period.

Heat detection aids, handling facilities and labour need to be carefully assessed to ensure the increased levels of heat in a short period can be dealt with effectively. If heats are missed, this goes completely against the reason that synchronisation was used in the first place.

All synchronisation protocols can be tailored to suit each individual farm.

Talk to your vet and devise a plan which will be most cost beneficial to your farm.

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