Enhancing Reproductive Performance and Profitability in Dairy Herds

Leo Timms, Faculty, Animal Science

Optimal reproductive performance is critical to economic success of dairy herds. Suboptimal reproduction results in economic losses due to lower herd milk production, higher variable costs associated with breeding, less calves or herd replacements, and higher culling rates. Adoption of systematic breeding programs coupled to continual monitoring and appropriate use and interpretation of dairy records is critical to monitor success and impact.

Objective was to develop and deliver educational programs focused on proper use and interpretation of dairy reproduction record, and then work with herds individually and collectively to monitor as well as institute changes to enhance reproductive performance and profitability.

One of the primary focuses of our Dairy Days and other programs this past year was on monitoring reproductive performance to increase pregnancy rates (PR). A self taught module was developed and used that systematically walked through dairy records and appropriate interpretations. Six herd owners (ranging from 60-800 cows) worked collaboratively and intensely to monitor and improve reproductive performance and institute changes to enhance reproductive performance and herd profitability.

30% (77/ 250) of Dairy Day evaluations ranked the Monitoring Reproduction Module as the top area of the meeting that would be used to make changes on their dairies. Initial evaluation of reproductive records of the 6 dairies showed problems and economic losses. More systematic reproductive programs were instituted and monitored. Average PR increased 9% (range 6-14%) from 10.5 to 19.5 %. Based on differences within herd and increased revenues of $16.60, $15, and $13/ cow for each 1% increase in PR at 10, 15 and 20% pregnancy rates, total increased economic values was $170,696 (range of $7200 - $72,8000 depending on herd size and initial and ending pregnancy rates).
109 - Dairy

Page last updated: July 11, 2008
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