Every dairy need a good reproductive program,and large dairies are no exception.

Following are some observations on what veterinarian Steve Stewart, Valley Ag Software, sees on successful operations. He shared this list with audiences at the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council at its recent regional meeting in St. Paul, Minn., and Boise, Idaho.

Keep in mind, he says, these are only observations, and that new ideas and technologies may change some of these points in the years to come. Meanwhile, here are some general principles that successful plans follow:

  • Successful programs are based on sound principles involving reproductive physiology, economics and management. All three components must be in place.
  • Programs are designed to facilitate implementation by avoiding unnecessary complications.
  • Programs have very consistent implementation by well-trained personnel with close attention to detail.
  • Programs incorporate new ideas and technology quickly, but only after critical scrutiny of pros and cons.
  • Programs focus on monitoring process (how things get done), as well as ultimate outcomes, in order to identify problems early.
  • These dairies understand that influences from improper nutrition and inadequate cow comfort can negatively impact future reproduction. They also pursue excellent heat stress relief strategies for cows.

In other words, says Stewart, these dairies depend on competent, conscientious people implementing sound programs consistently. “These dairies are very open to new ideas and new technologies, but do not always pursue the latest magic bullet solution suggested by the most recent consultant.”