Emerging shortage of dairy managers a cause for concern
The spring workload is cranking up on most farms. And while the recent mild weather has helped ease the burden, the end of milk quotas has resulted in health issues for many herds. In particular, the expansion of stock numbers has come ahead of the required housing facilities.
This is a recipe for disaster in terms of herd health and reproductive performance. Every cow has to have sufficient cubicle space and feed space to accommodate resting and feeding times respectively.
The hidden costs of failure to meet these basic requirements will be an increased percentage of non-cycling cows when the breeding season begins in May.
However, many will claim that these cows can be induced to cycle using a PRID or CIDR device. However, the seeds of infertility were sown early for the majority of these cows. Research data has shown that the reproductive performance and survivability of cows decreases significantly, if heat cycle have not resumed between 20 and 42 days post calving.
In one large study it was shown that those cows which had resumed heat cycles by 21 days post calving had calving intervals of 371 days, with a survival rate close to 90pc.
It should be noted that the majority of these early post calving heats will be silent and were detected using ultrasonography.
Also, this study incorporated high production type cows with rolling herd averages in excess of 7,000 litres. Therefore, there are opportunities to achieve excellent reproductive performance in the high production type cow.