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TAS Country : March 8th 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012 Tasmanian Country 21 The Stock Report Getting the best out of your herd RON BUTLER: Availability of energy was one of the most critical factors in ensuring cows maintained their reproductive performance. Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR lKAROLIN MacGREGOR 'When you start getting cows producing above 8000 litres it does impact on fertility. What is doesn't mean is that it's impossible to get those cows in calf' ---BARRY ZIMMERMAN TACKLING issues of dairy herd fer- tility was the topic of two forums in the state last week. About 70 farmers attended the fo- rums at Smithton and Dairy Plains. They featured high-profile guest speakers including Ron Butler, chair- man of animal science from the Cornell University in the United States. Barry Zimmerman, from Dairy Aust- ralia's Incalf Program, started the forum program at Dairy Plains. Mr Zimmerman told forum partici- pants the Incalf program was started in the late 1990s after concerns over reproductive performance in the Aust- ralian dairy herd. A research project then had found fertility was an issue in dairy indus- tries across the world. In Australia, Mr Zimmerman said several factors were identified that had contributed to the problem. They included a jump in average herd size, higher milk production, less labour units per farm and less training in artificial insemination. An analysis of long-term data from 74 herds from 1996 until 2010 has revealed reproductive performance has con- tinued to decline. Mr Zimmerman said the research had found the interval between calving and the start of a mating date could have a significant impact on fertility. Body condition scores leading into calving as well as milk production were also significant factors. ''When you start getting cows pro- ducing above 8000 litres it does impact on fertility,'' he said. ''What is doesn't mean is that it's impossible to get those cows in calf, there are just some more management challenges.'' Mr Zimmerman said the top- performing cows in the herd had to be managed in a similar way to dealing with elite athletes. ''For them to perform at that level and still get in calf, everything, es- pecially from a nutritional point of view, has to be managed well,'' he said. The fertility decline had been seen across all breeds of cattle, including crossbreds. Analysis has shown that from 2000-2009 on average fertility has declined by about 1 per cent across most herds. ''It's providing us with an indicator of a trend,'' Mr Zimmerman said. ''There is no single factor that can give us an explanation for the decline . . . there is no silver bullet.'' To successfully improve fertility per- formance, Mr Zimmerman said there were several key areas where man- agement might make a significant difference. These are calving patterns, heifer management, body condition scores and nutrition, heat detection, bull management, artificial insemination practices and general cow health. Mr Butler said herd fertility rates dropped to an all-time low in the US in about 2001. Since then a change in how cows were managed across US herds had seen that trend start to reverse, he said. Mr Butler told forum participants nutrition and particularly the avail- ability of energy was one of the most critical factors in ensuring cows main- tained their reproductive performance. How cows are managed before calv- ing and during early lactation is vital to assist them to successfully get back in calf, he said. ''The transition period is critical for every lactating dairy cow,'' Mr Butler said. ''It sets the stage for milk production through that whole lactation.'' Mr Butler said in early lactation cows went through a period of negative energy balance where they relied on fat stores to provide enough energy to produce milk. ''If a cow is not being fed well she can enter that period of negative energy balance even before she calves and start using fat stores,'' he said. If the cow's nutritional requirements were not being met, that might impact on ovulation timing and fertility. Follicles in the cow start growing between 60 and 80 days before ovu- lation, Mr Butler said. That meant farmers had to be careful to manage cows well right from the drying off period to ensure they had the best chance of being fertile at the start of mating. While there was a perception that high-production cows were more diffi- cult to get in calf, negative energy balance was more about dry matter intake than the production process. Getting cows to eat enough to satisfy their energy requirements was the key, he said. Mr Butler emphasised, however, that differences between individual dry matter intakes between cows was an area that needed more research. 2028718-120309 POWRANNA WEANER SALE Thursday March 22 at 12.00pm Sharp 3600 WEANERS 3600 Approximately 1200 EU Accredited Weaners Available Johnes MN or Beef Only Status Soft floor -- No concrete Further Entries & Enquiries: Warren Johnston 0419 326348 David Bennett 0439 632374 Nick Towns 0419 373602 Or your Roberts Livestock Representative Further entries invited and accepted Export Heifers Required HOLSTEIN FRIESIAN HEIFERS ORDER 1 200kgs + at end March (180kgs now) for delivery to local Tasmanian depot, blood test required, selection now $1,500.00 + GST ORDER 2 100-180kgs Immediate delivery to local Tasmania depot, no blood tests, $ top rates paid ORDER 3 Week old heifer calves, immediate delivery to local Tasmanian depot $600.00-$700.00 + GST Contact you local Roberts agent Nick Smith 0400 384072 - State Kayden Edwards 0418 123879 - NW Peter Townsend 0428 128169 - CH/NW Rodney Poke 0407 254638 - NW Bruce Holland 0438 029200 - Nth Nigel Brown 0418 595407 - NE Bec Oakley 0408 146033 - Sth Dairy For Sale 10 "Autumn calving" Friesian cows, due end of March to Friesian, good line $1,600.00 41 "Autumn calving" Friesian & Friesian x cows, PTIC, due March on, dry cowed $1,500.00 5 "Autumn calving" Friesian Heifers 2 yrs, due mid March on to Jersey $1,650.00 30 "Spring calving" Holstein Friesian cows, still in production, due mid Aug on to AI then Friesian bulls $1,800.00 80 "Spring calving" Jersey cows, from excellent AI herd, due end Aug on $1,500.00 8 "Spring calving" Friesian Jersey x Heifers 2 yrs, due Aug on to Jersey $1,400.00 8 "Spring calving" Jersey Heifers, rising 2yrs, due Aug on to Jersey $1,200.00 Large lines of "Spring Calving" Friesian Jersey x heifers rising 2yrs, from $1,400.00 +, forward contracts possible (conditions apply) Enq: Kayden Edwards 0418 123879 Peter Townsend 0428 128169 Nick Smith 0400 384072
February 23rd 2012
March 15th 2012