"We talk a lot about what the future might look like for our industry. We, as dairymen, have figured out that keeping cow comfort as a priority is paramount to getting cows safe in calf,” explained Steve Kayhart of Kayhart Dairy.
“One of the things that gets quite a lot of attention are aids in getting cows bred. A lot of the improvement with fertility is because research has a much better understanding of the way a cow functions,” said the Platinum winner of the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council’s 12th annual awards competition.
“In the future, I think we will use activity and health monitoring systems in ways we can’t even imagine today,” continued the Addison, Vt., dairyman. “I expect our dairy to invest in this technology within the next five years. Genomics also will play a part in helping us determine which cows are not only more fertile, but healthier overall.”
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 675 to 678 of the November issue of Hoard’s Dairyman. This year’s competition drew 105 nominations — the second most to date.
Here are additional responses from three more of the farms regarding the question, “What changes would you like to make?”
Britannia Dairy, Flandreau, S.D.: At some point, we would like to start genomic testing heifers and to utilize Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) data as we do with the sires. Also, we would like to have milk meters with conductivity for early mastitis detection as we have seen firsthand that high somatic cell count has a direct impact on reproduction.
Red Top Jerseys, Chowchilla, Calif.: I am interested in activity systems, but question if I can improve on high, 30 percent-plus preg rates. I’m sure the argument would be less protocols and labor.
Additionally, 100 percent genomic testing of all animals is also high on my list. We currently test the top 15 percent and use parent averages on the rest. Testing everything would eliminate any parent conflicts and give us true information to be used for making management decisions involving DPR.
Wenzel Hilltop Dairy, Hilbert, Wis.: We would like to implement collar monitoring systems once they are more affordable. Also, we continually educate ourselves on reproduction and animal health.
This Hoard’s Dairyman Intel article is part of a six-part series detailing top reproduction tips from the Platinum winning herds for the 12th annual Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council awards competition.
Click below to view previous reports from this DCRC series:
Rock solid repro gave them more flexibility
Alternatives don’t deliver consistent results
Nothing beats walking the pens everyday
Our motto: People wait for cows
We simplified our dairy farm’s daily routine