Josh Bernard, dairy manager at Nylund Dairy Farms in Hilmar, Calif., likes to have things done precisely in well-defined protocols. Here are three ways that he has brought precision to his breeding program:

  1. One person has been designated to give the cows their breeding shots. “He knows what size needle to use and what dosages to give,” Bernard says.
  2. Each time a cow enters the farm’s rotary parlor, an electronic reader scans the cow’s ID collar to see if the cow is in the right group. 
  3. Stringent record-keeping and benchmarking are employed, using the Dairy Wellness Plan Manager program from Pfizer and Dairy Comp 305.

Bernard got serious about this when the farm switched from twice-a-day milking to three-time-a-day, and the herd pregnancy rate seemed to suffer as a result. After employing an Ovsynch synchronized breeding program and instituting the above protocols, he was able to improve the pregnancy rate from 14 percent to an outstanding 24 percent to 25 percent.