“There are no shortcuts,” said Steve Paider with Seidl Mountain View Dairy.
“With any breeding and synchronization program you use, timing of protocols is critical and must be followed exactly to the detail. It does help to have the same person administering protocols at the same time every day,” noted the dairy farm manager for the Luxemburg, Wis., dairy farm that won Platinum honors in this year’s Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council’s ninth annual awards competition.
“Additionally, we use sires that are plus for daughter pregnancy rate (DPR), feed high-quality feed, and provide top-notch cow comfort,” Paider went on to say. “On top of that, we dedicate time to observe breeding pens for heat.”
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 708 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 advice do you have for other producers?”
Copperhill Farm, Fairfax, Vt.: Always try to improve heat detection. Activity monitors are great tools, but synch programs need to be used to ensure every cow is inseminated by a certain DIM. Do not overbreed cows in fear of missing heats. Tail chalking works great for heat detection. However, we would recommend that if you want to do your own heat detection and insemination, work with an A.I. technician in your area to learn how to read tail chalk. Have one person always prioritize synch programs and ensure reproductive protocols are given at the same time every time. Finally, good communication between team members is very important.
Dunlea Dairy Farm, Coudersport, Pa.: One hundred percent compliance with all protocols is a must. Keeping low densities in transition cow pens also aids our reproduction.
Pfeifer Dairy Farm, Bucyrus, Ohio: The most important thing is to have healthy cows. Nutrition, a vaccination program, and foot health are all critical and work together. Once you have healthy cows, find a program that works for you and be diligent in carrying it out.
Pine Hollow Dairy, Locke, N.Y.: Great reproductive performance over a long period of time is really the culmination of efforts by a dedicated team of people to provide a sound husbandry environment for the herd every day. Herds with solid reproduction performance have all the basics of nutrition, facilities, cow handling, foot health, transition care, milking, record keeping, and cow identification under their belt. Focus on the basic stuff, as there is no magic bullet or feed additive that will get the results. Just use good husbandry and focus on the target every day.
This only happens as a result of assembling a great team of people working together to achieve success. We have been fortunate to assemble a team of professionals including our semen supplier, nutritionists, veterinarians, and foot trimmers who are not only very competent, but they are also really interested in helping us be successful. Our farm staff gets the ultimate compliment. We have had the pleasure to work with many very dedicated folks, presently and in the past, who have contributed to the team’s success. Without a team of dedicated, talented people, great reproductive performance is not possible.
SunBurst Dairy, Belleville, Wis.: Everyone works as a team. Having goals and direction helps to evaluate our operation. Maximize housing and comfort, and utilize a good nutrition program. If using a reproduction program, adhere to those protocols. Keep cows in a calm environment.
This Hoard’s Dairyman Intel article is the final item in 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: