Mary Kinston: Submission rate above 80pc is the key to a good six-week in calf rate
Farmers who started calving around the beginning of February are close to, or over, six weeks of mating. Breeding is a stressful time on dairy farms, especially where AI is being used, due to the plethora of breeding dates and returns to service to be remembered.
The percentage of cows that received at least one insemination or mating in the first three weeks of the mating period is known as the three-week submission rate.
Discussion group farmers have are reporting a reasonable performance this year, with the majority achieving a greater than 80pc performance rate in the first three weeks.
Indeed, there have been a number that have achieved excellent performance rates of more than 90pc.
Note that the submission rate must be above 80pc if you hope to achieve a good six-week in-calf rate. Many have commented on the fact that cows have shown strong signs of heat this year compared to previous ones.
I believe that condition score at mating was better this year due to a good condition score at calving, which in turn had a positive effect on mating performance.
It's great to hear the debate on the finer points, such as the application length and width, frequency of top-up and changing colours for tail painting.
Weeks 4-6 of mating provide the opportunity to make some assessment of mating performance in terms of conception.