Fertility and cow production are the two most important traits for driving profit in any commercial or stud cattle herd. Both are easily measured and can be bred through any herd by using a strict selection and culling regime.

Fertility

In order to supply our clients with the very best fertility yearling heifers were mated for 42 days. At scanning, six weeks after the bull was removed, John Meban from Eastland Vets, foetal aged all of the embryos and any heifer that fell in calf after 30 days exposure to the bull was culled. This was a nervous time as it was our first year using this policy and we were unsure how it would go. The results showed 70% in calf in one and a half cycles. Acceptable but with room for improvement. The long term objective is to reduce the mating period down to one cycle in the heifers, and this will be achieved by slowly reducing exposer time to the bull year by year. The mating period for the R3 heifers and mixed age cows will remain at two cycles (42 days).

Cow Production

How to measure cow ‘production’ can be an interesting topic of conversation with many views on what the most important aspects are and how much weighting different aspects should get.
To us it can be broken down into three parts:

  • Cow efficiency – the amount (kgs) of calf weaned vs cow weight and condition score
  • Cow fertility – how long has she taken to conceive after exposure to the bull
  • Calf performance – what have her progeny achieved (made replacement herd or been culled)

All of this information has been collected and we are currently analysing the results. The long term objective is to rank the cows with a scoring system and have the results available in the bull sale catalogue alongside her son, so our clients can make a more informed decision about how the dam has performed when selecting their bulls. We hope to have this ready by this year’s annual sale.
We will also be able to use this information to select our elite ranking females for embryo transplant in order to get more of their genetics on the ground. And any underperforming females will be culled from the herd.

This research is an ongoing program and we still have a lot to do yet. We are very interested to hear your feedback, so don’t hesitate to ring if you have and questions.