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15th December, 2017

TIPS FOR DECEMBER 2014

Plan a breeding programme now for autumn calving dairy and beef cows. Scanning cows is not just about pregnancy scanning.

Scanning the reproductive tract of your cows will provide you with a targeted approach to getting your cows in calf. Do not work in the dark. There are cows in your herd which are not reproductively sound. These may require veterinary attention.

Scanning your cows can provide you with information pertaining to underlying herd health problems. Your vet will be able to use the information harvested from scanning to identify underlying herd health problems preventing you achieve optimal reproductive performance.

Heat detection is difficult indoors. Tail-paint does not work successfully. Teaser bulls with a chin-ball harness (please note that you need to keep it topped with paint each week!) are an excellent aid but bulls are more prone to injury indoors. Pedometers and accelerometers are an aid to heat detection but be careful that you do not discontinue observation of your cows for signs not detected by motion monitoring technology.

Silage quality is poor on many farms this autumn, while maize quality is excellent. Have you balanced diets based on requirements of your cows?

Suckler cows need to be managed to avoid body condition loss precalving associated with reducing the risk of calving difficulty. Calf size is dictated in large part by genetics and the previous experience in the womb during the early stages of pregnancy.

Dry cow management now will dictate at least 80% of future herd health and reproductive performance. Scanning cows early post calving will tell you if you are getting your preventative herd health management correct. This type of information will provide your vet with greater informed decision making advice