North Canterbury Veterinarian
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National calving percentages for 2018 was 82%. How did your farm compare?
With calving already underway it can be difficult to think about next season. However, some planning now will help reap the rewards of an improved reproduction performance.
Some points to consider:
BVD is a significant issue for many of our farms and can cost farmers thousands. Biosecurity alone isn’t enough to safeguard cows and heifers from an incursion and therefore vaccination is a cost-effective insurance against this. For heifers they need two shots of vaccine, with the second shot at least 4 weeks prior to the start of mating.
Previously vaccinated cows only require a single shot, and depending on which vaccine you use can be done at any time of year. Don’t forget to get bulls vaccinated at the same time as they can also be affected by BVD and serve as shedders to spread the virus amongst cows.
The trace elements, copper and selenium play a huge part in fertility performance. Winter crop feeding can cause copper deficiency due to interference from other elements in the soil that are ingested in increased amounts on crop. If you had your cows on a crop over winter and haven’t supplemented them with copper, they could be low. It is well known that Canterbury soils are deficient in selenium. Whilst full blown White Muscle Disease is rare, we do still see subclinical selenium deficiency and the associated affects this has on fertility. Could your cows be low in copper or selenium?
Earlier this year I did some training to improve the welfare of our bull testing methods. As part of this we have developed a new service to semen test bulls. Any inflammation can easily cause a deterioration in semen quality and the effects of this can last at least six weeks. Just because your bulls performed well last year there’s no guarantee they will perform the same this year. If you haven’t checked, how do you know?
Beef Synchrony Programmes
For some years dairy farmers have been using the practice of heat synchronisation to tighten up their calving spread. We have a few beef farmers who are using heat synchrony to allow them to make use of the advantages of artificial insemination. This can be via access to better genetics, reduction in calving length and, in some cases, advance average calving date. It’s not for everyone, and there are several things to consider before deciding to implement a repro programme.
Contact our NCVC team for any Beef reproduction or synchrony queries.
North Canterbury Veterinary Clinics operates four clinics throughout the Hurunui region.