Achieving a good calving rate for next season, and reducing the wastage of empty cows in the autumn, are among the most important issues during spring. Based on research and experience on the ground, the most important factors influencing the mating results appear to be:
- Cow condition pre-calving (this however needs attention at the time of drying off)
- Mineral supplementation pre-mating: we recommend a blood/liver test during spring to address any obvious deficiencies
- Milking frequency: we recommend cows (especially heifers) less than a 4.0 BCS post calving, be milked once per day through to at least December. They can be brought back onto twice a day milking if condition and feed allow. However it is generally recommended they be maintained on once a day milking all season, especially in larger more competitive herds. Make sure this once a day mob is not underfed. They need as good, if not better, feeding than the twice a day herd.
This is also a time to note that service bulls remain the next higher risk practice with regard to Microplasma Bovis. We suggest you review options to lengthen the AB period and reduce the number of bulls required, or source bulls from clean breeding herds. This will be a trade-off between risking heat detection fatigue and reducing the number of bulls required. We have more tips on managing M Bovis with closed herds here.