Author: Lāsma Cielava (LLU) - December 12, 2017
The training and research farm of the Latvia University of Agriculture "Vecauce" houses more than 600 cows, including Holsteins, Red crossbreeds and the native Latvian Brown breed. The average milk yield per lactation is now over 10.000 kg. However, the increase in herd productivity ultimately let to different issues with heat detection and low pregnancy rates. That is why they opted for pedometers (Afimilk's AfiAct II leg tags, as shown in the picture).
With the use of this technology, the number of services decreased from 1.8 to 1.4 times for one successful calving. The herd management system also had a significant impact on the selection progress and increase of milk yield in the farm as it was easier to spot the problem cows in early age. In this instance the benefit is due to increased conception rate, rather than increased submission rate – possibly due to better timing of insemination – and resulted in a decrease of calving interval from 407 days to 401 days.
Utimately, the herd management technology by itself won’t give results, but the first step towards a better productivity and reproduction is to balance feeding and housing systems. Before purchasing any technologies, meticulous planning is mandatory to determine which fertility targets should be be reached. For an overview of the moest important dairy fertility key performance indicators (KPIs), click here. (Note: only registered 4D4F members have access to the glossary of dairy fertility. So be sure to log in first.)