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Breeding cows for keep

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Even in harder years, the best farmers recognize that breeding the next generation of money-makers is not a good place to save a few dollars.

That doesn’t mean doing the same things you’ve always done; it means continuing your commitment to your future herd by looking at how you’re making mating decisions and whether you can make it easier and more profitable for the same money.

Your cows are the ones converting pasture into milk, so it makes sense to invest in raising the productivity of your herd – whether you are aiming for production, efficiency or other targets.

Often raising on-farm productivity means balancing goals of increasing production against fertility or efficiency, and no two farms or farmers will follow the same path to meet their profitability targets.

Planning strategies for breeding great cows start, like all plans, with the end in mind. Once you have decided what cows will suit your business and farming model, the next step is to work out where your herd is now. Sirematch, the mating advice tool from CRV Ambreed, makes this task simple and accurate, from setting breeding goals and actions for this year and in allowing breeding decisions in following years to be clearer and more consistent.

Using Sirematch is doing to breeding what soil tests did to the fertiliser industry in the 1980s – stops waste of cash while optimising gains and returns. Giving the same attention to the milk producing part of your operation makes good financial sense.

Another area to focus on is heat detection. The need to utilise seasonal pasture growth more effectively, coupled with the desire for concentrated calving patterns that suit cows, replacement calves and staff, mean that this is one of the best areas to start.

ESTROTECT Breeding Indicators are proven more effective for detecting estrus intensity than tailpaint.

Late season mating strategies also will pay dividends. Short gestation sires will bring later calvers forward. For cows facing fertility challenges through stress or hard calvings, Fertabull is effective.


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