Cattle Fertility and Routine Visits
31st March 2018 by Andrew Turkington
Most of our dairy clients opt to have routine fertility visits once a fortnight, at a pre-arranged time of day and day of the week. This is timed to fit easily around the daily working of the farm, and is usually soon after morning milking. One vet is designated as the vet primarily responsible for the routine, and another as back-up. We use portable scanners so we can examine the cows in AI stalls, in the crush or through the parlour. Routine visits are a highly beneficial tool to keep the focus on 365d calving as well as the general nutritional and preventative management issues surrounding on farm disease and biosecurity.
Benefits of routine fertility visits:
- Reduce your calving index
- Diagnose cystic and non-cycling cows
- Diagnose and treat uterine infection early to get cows back in calf sooner
- Synchronise groups of heifers or cows
Routines also provide an opportunity to discuss herd health on farm. This enables monitoring of production targets and prevention of potential problems, for example:
- Quarterly bulk milk screening for infectious disease
- Blood sampling for disease control and/or nutritional profiling
- Mastitis/cell count monitoring and investigation
- Which animals should be seen by the vet on a routine?:
- PCC – Post calving checks, cows 2 to 4 weeks calved. Check for uterine infection as only 36% of cows with a uterine infection show “whites”. Early detection and treatment gives the best chance of cows returning to fertility.
- PD – Pregnancy diagnosis – all cows that have been served 35 days. Everyone has had a cow dry for several months, which has not been seen bulling for 9 months and yet is not in calf. Don’t assume she is in calf, get her checked!
- NSB – Not seen bulling – all cows that have not been seen bulling by the end of your “voluntary waiting period”, about 45 days for most people. It is important to examine these cows (and treat them if necessary) to treat them if necessary to make sure they come bulling and get in calf.