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A.I. & Breeding

From estrus and heat detection to genomics and sexed semen, discover the latest information to improve reproductive performance.

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In vitro fertilization (IVF) on commercial dairies has steadily increased over the past few years. While the technology was originally limited to seedstock herds due to the higher cost per pregnancy, recent advances have made it more affordable.

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There are so many factors that affect how efficiently you can get cows pregnant. Cow comfort. Cow cooling. Nutrition. Herd health. Genetics. Dry cow, transition and fresh cow management. And the list goes on.

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Reproductive management of dairy cows has advanced significantly in the past two decades with the advent of ovulation synchronization protocols, improvements in nutrition and cow comfort, and the incorporation of female fertility and longevity traits into selection programs.

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When doing anything to scale, it is key to look for critical points where efficiencies can be maximized to ensure the most value for your dollar.

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“I installed an automated heat detection system, but it is flagging cows that are not in heat. I’m so frustrated.” This is a very common complaint from dairy farmers. They are told an activity system will find the cows in heat better than their personnel, which is true, but they are never told what to do with the extra cows on the list. 

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Many of us in the dairy industry are thinking about the same thing these days: How do we make the right number of heifers for our operation and create the most value from the rest of our calf crop? Clearly, the market is signaling that we need to stop trying to make as many heifers as we can and change our strategy on types of pregnancies we are creating.

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