Bulls ver­sus AI de­bate comes into sharp fo­cus this breed­ing sea­son

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR - MARY KINSTON

re­assess­ment.

Body con­di­tion score and feed­ing have sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts on sub­mis­sion rates and have been neg­a­tively af­fected on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions this spring. If a cow’s body con­di­tion is at all sharp and pointy — es­pe­cially on the hips, back­bone and ribs — then putting these thin cows on OAD milk­ing can be the most ef­fec­tive and rapid method to aid mat­ing per­for­mance.

An­other op­tion is to scan non-cy­clers to elim­i­nate prob­lems, es­pe­cially in at risk cows, in­clud­ing those which had twins, meta­bolic is­sues, re­tained af­ter­births or in­fec­tions etc.

Teat con­di­tion

How­ever, if a cow is healthy and less than 40 days post-calv­ing the like­li­hood is that she just needs good feed­ing and time.

Con­cep­tion rate can then be as­sessed dur­ing the fourth to sixth week of mat­ing through the level of re­turns.

One fi­nal is­sue to con­sider is teat con­di­tion.

With cows hav­ing been ex­posed to mud, wet and cold, chapped and cracked teats are com­mon so it’s no sur­prise that SCC has be­come more chal­leng­ing on some farms.

I can’t help stress the im­por­tance of sim­ply teat spray­ing to rem­edy this prob­lem.

Use at least 15ml per cow per milk­ing, en­sur­ing that the whole sur­face of the teat is cov­ered, ad­e­quately enough to see it drip off the teat.

As most teat sprays con­tain emol­lients such as glyc­er­ine, lano­lin and gly­can,us­ing ad­e­quate teat spray can go a long way in adding teat con­di­tion and main­tain­ing good SCC.

Where con­di­tions are re­ally poor, pre-spray­ing can be an ad­di­tional help in main­tain­ing teat health.

It’s a sim­ple step in the milk­ing rou­tine and if you go to the bother of teat spray­ing, make sure to do it well rather than just mak­ing a to­ken ef­fort.

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