Farm Ireland

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Simple rules to help make the breeding season easy

Robin Talbot

There's a few simple rules for the breeding season that we abide by on this farm:

  • Once we have all the calves safely on the ground, our focus moves to the cow to make sure that she is in the right condition for the breeding season. It's important to have a cow on a rising plane of nutrition.
  • As we de-horn the calves, we will give them their first shot in a two-shot programme to protect against respiratory issues, especially pneumonia. A month later, the calves get their second shot, when we give the cows their Leptospirosis booster.
  • We keep the calving season compact so the bulls run with the cows for 12 weeks, in groups of around 40-45. In that 12 weeks, we rotate the bulls -- the first rotation after six weeks, and the next three weeks later so three different bulls run with each group.
  • We scan the cows around 40 days after removing the bull to identify the likes of empty cows or twins. Most experienced scanner operators will be able to tell exactly how long the cow is in-calf, so even though you might not have seen them being served by the stock bull you will also have a due calving date, which is a great help in the feeding and management of them for the next season.
  • It's invaluable to have a herd health plan to be pro-active rather than reactive on the health of your stock.

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