Bulls versus AI debate comes into sharp focus this breeding season
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.
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.