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23rd February, 2019

Reproductive performance from a hybrid figure associated with a cross-breeding programme


On a farm visit outside Strabane, Co. Tyrone, I visited a dairy farmer who had a herd of Holstein cows which he has cross-bred with accommodation of shorthorn, fleckvieh, mountbellard over the past 10 years.

The main feature when working with this herd was the excellent body condition score and locomotion score of the cows. The reproductive performance of the herd is excellent with an overall calving index of 368 days allowing for a replacement rate of 16% associated with cows failing to establish pregnancy.

This client starts his breeding programme on the 1 st of January using a group of stock bulls. He scans all cows 14 days calved and greater at one month intervals from the time of 14 days post calving until they are confirmed pregnant with foetal sexing at day 55 to 85. This
enables him to manage cows in different groups depending on the level of milk production and stage of pregnancy. Because of the number of cows establishing cows to 60 days calved, he needs to scan cows routinely to ensure that cows are dried off at the time stage of gestation.