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1st June, 2020

Smart scan pre-breeding essential with maiden heifers.

On a farm visit in Co. Antrim today, where a group of 30 maiden heifers were presented for a pre-breed scan in conjunction with the use of sexed semen. Smart scan revealed that over 50% of the heifers weren’t cycling even though they were fit in terms of stature and body weight. Smart scan technology revealed that this was associated with a previous stressor.

Research shows that the delayed puberty in maiden heifers is associated with poor reproductive performance and impaired pregnancy rate to services when cycling resumes when either using conventional or sexed semen.

In this case study it is not advised to use sexed semen. The progeny produced from breeding these maiden heifers have a greater risk of subsequent impaired fertility because of an epigenetic effect associated with the previous stressor associated with their dams. Survival rates in animals with delayed puberty into second and third lactations is poorer with the type of health impairment described as been encountered.

Finally, the client revealed at the end of the farm visit that these heifers had indeed experienced a sufficient health impairment as calves.