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11th July, 2020

Is the stock bull or the cows responsible for this fertility problem?

On a call outside Armagh where a client was running a stock bull on animal basis with dairy cows. This stock bull was Belgium Blue cross Limousin bull. The client wanted to continue using this bull as it produced calves with no history of calving difficulty. The calves produced using this Belgium Blue cross Limousin bull on Friesian cows are currently making £320 on average at 5 weeks of age.

In the current business of dairying farmers reckon that the most of profit from business is generated from sales of beef calves. Smart Scan from ReproDoc revealed today that 20/30 1st and 2nd lactation cows from a batch of 40 animals calving last spring were now empty. A previous scan almost 5 months ago revealed that these same animals were reproductively sound. Herd mates of these animals which were in 3rd – 8th lactation and empty on scan 140 days ago were now pregnant. However, none of the 20 animals (1st & 2nd lactation) established pregnancy in the past 120 days of eligibility to detect pregnancy using the Smart Scan.

The fact that stock bull established pregnancy among the older cows would suggest that his fertility is not the question, but it is impossible to access the reasons why the animals in 1st & 2nd lactation failed to establish pregnancy.

This herd is currently been vaccinated for Leptospirosis and BVD. The client is now going to get his vet to take blood samples to access other potential reasons for failure to establish pregnancy.

In conclusion, Smart Scan revealed the underlying herd fertility problem. Further investigation is required to access the cause of the infertility.