Winter breeding season now in full swing
Date Posted: 7th January 2021
Dairy farmers seeking to calve cows during the early autumn months of 2021 know that maximising conception rates now is an absolute must.
“This is a very intense time of the year on large numbers of dairy farms,” confirmed Ai Services’ Ivan Minford.
“Cows that calve down in the early autumn will be best placed to allow producers maximise the benefit of the payment bonuses that will be paid out by processers during October, November and December 2021.”
“So maximising conception rates to first inseminations is crucial. Letting cows slip for a further 21 days represents a missed opportunity.”
Ivan went on to confirm that many milk producers are now having cows checked by their vets, prior to breeding, as a matter of routine.
“This approach ensures that any fertility-related problems that do exist are identified at an early stage and dealt with accordingly.
“We have seen an exponential growth in the use of sexed semen over recent years. This approach represents an additional investment cost to the farmer.
“But again, it can only be recouped if conception rates are as high as can be expected. Getting as many cows as possible safely into calf over the coming weeks is a critically important on those farms winter milk represents an important part of business turnover.”
Ivan also confirmed that many local milk producers are now synchronising their replacement heifers.
“This reflects the fact that many producers now keep their replacements on outlying farms,” he said.
“It is also feasible to use sexed semen as part of a batched calving programme. Conception rates of up to 70% can be obtained in these circumstances with 50% the norm.
“But it is crucially important for farmers looking at this approach to breeding to closely adhere to all of the required management protocols. The additional expense involved is considerable. So, again, maximising conception rates is crucially important.”
Commenting on the results of the recently published December Holstein UK bull run, Ivan highlighted the continuing success of sires previously identified on the back of their genomic assessments. He added:
“Many of these bulls have fully confirmed this potential, given the very strong daughter proofs that re now available for them.
“A case in point is Bomaz Alta Topshot. He is now the Number One bull in the UK with daughters milking.”
“Topshot is a massive milk production sire, combining output with an ability to breed strong, robust daughters. Local progeny on farms are really impressing their owners and are exactly what farmers are looking for, especially on a robotic milking system”
Other sires that have confirmed their ability to produce daughters that will milk tremendously well here in Northern Ireland include: Peak Altarecoil; VH Balisto Brook; Double W Ranger and Westcoast Penman Praser.
AltaRecoil is a unique sire that has fantastic type without increasing stature. He also delivers massive daughter fertility and outstanding udders. Brook is a top PLI sire, with good volumes for milk and massive component improvement. His daughters will have great fertility and longevity. He is one of the best bulls for robotic milking.
Praser is one of the top daughter fertility bulls available at +16.9. His daughters will be strong and robust with excellent longevity in the herd. Praser also maintains production with tremendous lift in fat and protein percentages.
Ranger is the highest used Holstein bull in Holland for the past two years. He is excellent for type (+2.4), production and components. Ranger is also an outstanding sire for legs and feet with excellent locomotion. His milking daughters on local farms have impressive strength, especially body traits. He is also recommended for robotic milking.
So far this breeding season bulls that are particularly in high demand include Alta Leap; Peak Mauney; Nacash and the newly released sire Piano. All are available, both sexed and conventiona.
The recently published Ai Services’ Dairy 2021 catalogue profiles the complete range of Holstein sires now available form the company. Significantly, it also features a wide range of top quality sires across the entire gamut of other dairy breeds.
These include Viking Red, British Friesian, Jersey, Fleckvieh, Mountbelliarde, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss. Ivan Minford specifically highlighted the potential of Viking Red breeding stock to perform well here in Northern Ireland. He further explained:
“The breed comprises 200,000 cows that are located in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. The current breed average is 9627L at 4.3% butterfat and 3.51% protein. These figures are based on a 305-day lactation.
“Viking Red cattle are renowned for their longevity, fertility and ability to produce high quality milk.”
For further information, contact Ai Services (Northern Ireland) Ltd on 028 9083 3123.