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23rd February, 2019

Scanning cows reveals impact of calving difficulty

On farm visits to a group of suckler farmers in County Kerry, these farmers take pride in the production of top quality weanling stock from the suckler cow.  30% of the cows presented have abnormal reproductive function post calving associated with calving difficulty or the nutritional management of cows prior to calving.  In order to avoid calving difficulty, many of these farmers will reduce feed intake in the 2 month period prior to calving to avoid this.  However, this has an adverse effect on reproductive function post calving.  These farmers pre-breed scan the cows in order to assess the price of semen to be used on the cows.  In addition, they like to sex the pregnancies to identify some of the potential cows with calving difficulty associated with the larger male calves.