Dairy cattle reproduction is a multi-faceted challenge for farmers and researchers alike. And while there are plenty of physiological issues to tackle, the interactions between nutrition, hormonal systems and altered reproduction is getting a lot of attention these days.
Check out this paper presented at the 2009 Penn State Dairy Cattle Nutrition Workshop last month by Milo Wiltbank, dairy cattle reproductive physiologist at the University of Wisconsin. In it, he focuses on the effects of high feed intake on reproduction and how that is driving research efforts.
Wiltbank notes that the normal high feed consumption of dairy cows appears to cause changes in hormonal concentrations that are sufficient of dramatically alter reproduction — like the duration of estrus and double ovulation rate.
He suggests that a combined effort between veterinarians and nutritional consultants will be needed in order to optimize nutritional and reproductive management programs to improve on-farm reproductive efficiency.