“To ensure we stay on track, we monitor a number of vital reproductive performance metrics,” explained Roger Dunn, who lives in Coudersport, Pa. His Dunlea Dairy Farm is located just across the border in New York state.
Here are the following records that Dunn monitors as a Platinum winner in this year’s Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council’s ninth annual awards competition.
• Palpation rate — weekly
• Conception rate — monthly
• Pregnancy rate — monthly
• Percent pregnant by 150 DIM — biannually
• Days open — yearly
“We use the same metrics for both cows and heifers (except for 150 DIM),” Dunn went on to say.
All six of this year’s Platinum winners of the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council’s awards share additional insight in this Hoard’s Dairyman Intel as well as the Round Table found on pages 707 to 709 of the November issue of Hoard’s Dairyman. This year a record 128 herds were nominated for the award from 18 U.S. states and Canadian provinces.
Here are additional responses to the question, “What reproductive metrics do you monitor?”
Copperhill Farm, Fairfax, Vt.: We focus on our conception rate, pregnancy rate, heat detection rate, days to first service, and average days open. We normally check these weekly. Additionally, we have our vet do a detailed repro audit twice a year to analyze data and look for ways to improve.
Pfeifer Dairy Farm, Bucyrus, Ohio: On a monthly basis, I keep a close eye on pregnancy rate, conception rate, and percent pregnant by 150 DIM.
Pine Hollow Dairy, Locke, N.Y.: We only monitor cow metrics. If a heifer is not confirmed pregnant and reaches 20 month of age, we cull her.
We look at our stats on a weekly basis. The metrics include: conception rate, heat detection rate, pregnancy rate, and number of cows confirmed pregnant. By looking at each week individually, we are able to identify an issue of poor performance quickly and work to improve. We do not react to one poor week, but two or three in a row will result in a big powwow!
Seidl Mountain View Dairy, Luxemburg, Wis.: Steve looks at three groups of statistics on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Daily — reproductive summary and cows not bred yet. Weekly — breeding code and days open summary. Monthly — pregnancy rate and calving interval.
SunBurst Dairy, Belleville, Wis.: We evaluate service per conception (SPC); pregnancy rates; conception rates; calving interval (for cows) or age at first calving (heifers); health issues/trends; pounds of milk; and SCC. Additionally, we consider factors such as weather, uterine tone/discharge, pre- and postfresh diets, and heifer diets. Evaluations are ongoing. From a service sire standpoint, we value daughter pregnancy rate quite highly.
This Hoard’s Dairyman Intel article is part of an eight-part series detailing top reproduction tips from the Platinum-winning herds for the ninth annual Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council awards competition.
Click here to view previous reports from this DCRC series: