Developing goals for dairy herd reproductive performance

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Profitability of dairy herds is dependent on cows beginning a new lactation on a regular interval. When reviewing a herd’s reproductive performance, dairy herd managers and their consultants may wonder how the herd compares to other dairy herds in their state and elsewhere. A comparison to herds that are managed similarly can be referenced when developing performance goals.

The DairyMetrics program, available from Dairy Records Management Services (DRMS), was used to summarize performance data for Michigan dairy herds in the Dairy Herd Information (DHI) system. For Table 1, herds were divided into 3 groups based on rolling herd average for milk (< 23,000 lb, 23,000 - 26,999 lb, and  > 27,000 lb). The herds are grouped in Table 2 by herd size (< 200 cows, 200 – 499 cows, and  > 500 cows). The items in each table are from the DHI-202 Herd Summary report and include key indicators of overall herd management. Data presented in each table are the averages for each key performance indicator.

Table 1. Averages of Michigan DHI Herds by Rolling Herd Average Milk Levels

Key Indicator

All Herds

RHA Milk

< 23,000 lb.

RHA Milk

23,000 to 26,999 lb.

RHA Milk

 > 27,000 lb.

Pregnancy Rate (yr)

20

16

20

23

Days to First Service

87

99

83

78

Projected Days Open

140

159

133

126

1st Service Conception Rate (%)

42

48

39

39

% Heats Observed (yr)

48

35

51

59

% Bred to AI Sires

82

70

87

93

Rolling Herd Avg. Milk lb.

24,145

19,814

25,087

28,736

Number of Herds

 

177

185

129

Average Herd Size**

384

201

388

621

**Herds included in this summary have 25 or more cows.
DairyMetrics summaries based on DRMS data available on June 12, 2014.

Table 2. Averages of Michigan DHI Herds by Herd Size Levels

Key Indicator

All Herds

Herd Size

< 200 Cows

Herd Size

200-499 Cows

Herd Size

 > 500 Cows

Pregnancy Rate (yr)

20

17

21

24

Days to First Service

87

95

81

75

Projected Days Open

140

150

132

125

1st Service Conception Rate (%)

42

45

39

36

% Heats Observed (yr)

48

40

51

64

% Bred to AI Sires

82

79

82

90

Rolling Herd Avg. Milk lb.

24,145

22,479

25,703

26,659

Number of Herds

 

271

138

93

Average Herd Size**

384

108

309

1304

**Herds included in this summary have 25 or more cows.
DairyMetrics summaries based on DRMS data available on June 12, 2014.

Pregnancy rate (PR) is an overall indicator for reproductive performance in dairy herds. It is defined as the percentage of eligible cows that become pregnant in a given time period, typically 21-day intervals. Eligible cows are non-pregnant cows in which their days in milk are beyond the voluntary waiting period (VWP). VWPs reported through DHI should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed. When the herd’s actual VWP is longer than the reported VWP, pregnancy rate will be underestimated. The reverse is true when VWP is actually shorter than the reported value. Average days to first service is an indicator of the compliance level to the herd’s voluntary waiting period. A previous article (Monitoring reproductive performance in dairy herds) in Michigan State University Extension News contains more information about the calculation of PR.

Conception rate (%) is a key indicator of level of fertility of the herd. Fertility can be affected by diseases such as bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and mastitis, in addition to nutritional deficiencies. Conception rate (%) can be altered in herds with normal fertility by improper heat detection, timing of artificial insemination, and inadequate compliance when using synchronization programs. Fertility programs G6G, Double Ovsynch and Presynch-10 or 11 can be used to enhance fertility in dairy herds that are free from diseases and nutritional problems. Go to the Reproductive Management of Dairy Cattle website to learn more about these fertility programs.

Projected days open is based on current confirmed and projected pregnancies in the herd. To achieve a desired calving interval of 13-13.5 months, the corresponding days open would be 115-130 days.

Dairy herd reproductive performance should be monitored routinely to identify strengths and determine opportunities for improvement. Dairy herd owners and managers should work with their management teams to evaluate reproductive status and set appropriate goals for their herds.



Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


RX7320

When moving hay to feed dairy cows, farmers are seeking a versatile tractor. KITOI’s new Tier 4 RX series tractors ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

)
Feedback Form
Leads to Insight