Cow Fertility

In both dairy and beef suckler herds, efficient fertility management is an important influence on farm profitability. Reducing the calving index in a dairy herd towards a target of say 385 days by one day will save a staggering £3 per cow. This means that in an average herd reducing this index by a week could save over £2300 per year. Similarly in a suckler herd, prolonged calving patterns could cost over £100 per cow.

Our team are very experienced in fertility work; doing many fertility procedures almost on a daily basis. In fact, Mark has a post graduate diploma in bovine reproduction.

Fertility Examinations

The Equipment

We have 5 state of the art mobile ultrasound scanners which can be used with a headset meaning the vet can move around and scan your cows almost anywhere as long as they are adequately restrained.  We also have monitors which can be used if your handling facilities allow, meaning you are able to see the images.

These machines allow us to "see" the reproductive tract as well as palpate it leading to better diagnoses and treatments.

The Examination

Pregnancy diagnosis is an important but small part of our examination. If the cow is pregnant we can detect the age, size, health and number of foetuses. If she's not pregnant and/or has not been seen in oestrus, we can accurately detect the causes such as cystic ovaries, uterine infection etc and treat accordingly.  

Fertility Management 

Although one off fertility examinations are useful, we do encourage our dairy clients to keep on top of their herd fertility by having ‘routine fertility visits’.  These can be organised on a monthly, fortnightly or even weekly basis.  Routine fertility visits allow us to detect problems early, thus improving your calving index. Many visits include examination of cows before being bred so that if there are any reasons why a cow will not become pregnant, this can be addressed very early. We can record several simple outcomes at each visit to help monitor oestrus detection, conception rate, nutrition and post calving infections. We also use a computer program called Interherd which uses milk recording data to analyse how the herd's fertility is performing.

Using various hormonal protocols, we can also synchronise oestrus (bulling) in groups of cows or heifers, which may be particularly useful for beef farmers.

Fertility Investigation 

When things are not going well, we can work closely with the farmer and his nutritionist to investigate the main causes of the infertility. Nutritional problems during the transition period are the most common causes and by taking and analysing blood samples we can identify these. Similarly we can take tests to identify any diseases which may be influencing fertility. Using the results we can advise the farmer on improvements in nutrition, management and disease control to maximise fertility and so profitability.

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