Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

A.I. & Breeding

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


Editor Walter Cooley interviewed Doug Maddox, owner of Maddox Farms in Riverdale, California, and asked about the operation's embryo transfer strategies.

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In 1986 Dr. Freeman, dairy breeding research scientist from Iowa State, stated in a research article that “continued successful selection for production may depress reproduction to where selection on reproduction may be necessary,” and then asked, “Will reproductive physiologists develop new techniques to enhance reproductive performance so that selection will not be necessary?” More recently two trends have occurred.

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Originally published: Nov. 19, 2009
Since we began tracking trending topic articles, we’ve been surprised with the number of “older” articles that remain well-read.

Case in point is this 2009 article from the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council (DCRC), which pointed out five areas dairy producers should consider when deciding whether to cull an animal for reproduction: long calving intervals, high somatic cell count, poor reproduction health postpartum, difficult calving and lower fertility. to jump to the article.

Because this article has been so popular, we asked DCRC a follow-up question:
Q. Which one of the five areas highlighted in the article for producers to consider when culling cattle most influenced dairymen in 2011?

I believe the high cull price influenced some dairymen to cull cows that they may have held on to. But ultimately, lack of pregnancy, injury/other and mastitis usually are the three greatest causes for culling.

Jeff Stevenson
Vice President, Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council
Professor, Kansas State University

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The average American dairy cow produces more than 20,000 pounds of milk every year. Most of these cattle are Holsteins, a breed whose naturally high milk yield has been enhanced by decades of selective breeding. The U.S. dairy industry intensified selective-breeding efforts in the 1960s. Since then, the average milk yield in Holsteins has doubled, but there has also been a substantial reduction in fertility.

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Fertility is defined as the capability to produce offspring. For dairy cattle we make adjustments to the environment, the diet and reproductive protocols, all in hopes of improving our chances of producing offspring. Simply put, fertility is the basis of all reproductive challenges.

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Regular reproduction continues to be a challenge in dairy herds. Researchers at the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory of USDA have reported regional and national statistics on reproduction in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science.

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