G86-822 How to Estimate a Dairy Herd's Reproductive Losses

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Keown, Jeffrey F.
dairy herd; operation; reproduction; breeding; calving interval; dry periods; A.I.; first freshening; record keeping; fresh date; heat dates; detectors; heat detection aids; observation; breeding dates; goals; conception date; reproductive goals; Dairy Herd Improvement Association; DHIA; animal science; milk production; Agriculture; Curriculum and Instruction
article description
Remedies for herd losses caused by calving interval, dry periods, A.I. performance, and age at first freshening.One of the major areas of lost income to the dairy producer is in the reproductive performance of the dairy herd. These losses are often overlooked because they are indirect costs. If producers could be given a monthly bill indicating the amount of money that improper reproductive management has cost them, then drastic changes would occur.The majority of reproductive losses occur in the following areas:1. Calving interval too long or too short.2. Dry period too long or too short.3. A.I. performance, i.e., services per conception, too high.4. Heifers too old at first freshening.All four of the major reproductive loss areas in a dairy herd are either under direct or indirect control of management. To properly manage these four areas a producer must be committed on a daily basis to improving the herd's reproductive performance. Soundly based reproductive management of a herd will substantially increase income and profits. Unlike other problem areas that may need adjustments, such as housing, facilities, equipment, or A.I. sire usage, the four major reproductive areas require little if any additional capital input. Improvements in the reproductive areas require mainly time and personal input. Let's look at each of the four areas and investigate where the problems can occur and some quick and inexpensive remedies.