So­lu­tion to in­duc­tions unique

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Re­duc­ing the need to in­duce dairy cows has been on the agenda of New Zealand’s lead­ing ge­net­ics com­pany for 10 years.

The prof­itabil­ity of dairy herds de­pends on cows calv­ing in time with the spring grass growth.

Dairy farmer-owned Live­stock Im­prove­ment (LIC) has been work­ing on a so­lu­tion to re­duce ges­ta­tion lengths in later calv­ing cows and thereby avoid the need for in­duc­tions.

The an­swer lies in a mix of man­age­ment tac­tics and ge­net­ics, and LIC has been breed­ing a line of cat­tle with shorter preg­nan­cies.

LIC gen­eral man­ager of ge­net­ics, Peter Gat­ley, said: ‘‘We saw the need a decade ago and started se­lect­ing an­i­mals which nat­u­rally had shorter ges­ta­tion. To­day we’re still the only com­pany in the world work­ing on this so­lu­tion. Al­ready the ser­vice of­fers a five-day ad­van­tage but we’re con­tin­u­ing to make progress and ex­pect to go be­yond a week to ten days and more.

‘‘We’ve also tested other breeds and have found a huge ad­van­tage in the yak but we need to im­prove the con­cep­tion rate. This is an­other project which is well un­der­way.

‘‘The aim is to en­able farm­ers to use high breed­ing worth bulls to breed re­place­ment heifers from their early cows, then short ges­ta­tion or yak se­men for any late calv­ing cows – avoid­ing the need to in­duce them.’’

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