Our Farm: The chaos of calving gives way to plans for the next mating season
As March passes, the chaos of calving should have also passed. Most herds by now should have at least greater than 75pc of the herd calved, and ideally have less than 10pc left to calve in April.
With this small window during April to somewhat 'catch your breath', focus should now turn towards breeding. While calving is challenging in terms of work load, mating is where the value of compact calving, pays off.
An average herd calving interval of 365 days is the ideal for efficiency and productivity.
Achieving a six-week calving rate of greater than 75pc means that all these cows have six weeks or more for anoestrus and to potentially exhibit their first oestrus prior to the start of mating.
Achieving all of these targets primes the system for a successful mating season.
Considering the maiden heifers, these would have ideally been vaccinated on early March for leptospirosis and BVD, and would have been at grass.
March has been rather tricky in many areas and this ideal of having heifers at grass wasn't possible in many areas as they went in and out of the sheds on repeated occasions due to the heavy downpours.
Here's hoping April is kinder and promotes weight gain. Mating the maiden heifers successfully is crucial to next year's calving spread, and will be determined firstly by the weight of the heifers at mating, the target being 60pc of mature body weight (e.g. 330kg for a 550kg cow).