AUSTRALIA - After 20 years of declining dairy cow fertility, the genetic trend has turned around and improved every year since 2011 year.
It is now about 5 per cent higher than cows born in 2011, and similar to cows born in 1996.
This finding and others are reported in the latest Herd Improvement Report, published recently by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) and the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA).
Michelle Axford from ADHIS said this was an example of the gains that can be made through increased emphasis of fertility in Australian selection indices, particularly in the Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and Health Weighted Index (HWI).
“We can expect further gains as the focus on fertility in indices has increased further in the past couple of years,” she said.
“On top of that, bull companies and farmers are paying extra attention to the Daughter Fertility ABV when making their final bull selections.
“We are now seeing the direct benefits on farm. Cows with higher daughter fertility ABVs get back in calf sooner – that is they have higher 6-week in calf rates.”
Michelle said the simplest way to improve the genetics of herds for fertility was to choose bulls from the Good Bulls Guide or app with a high Daughter Fertility ABV (>104).
She said recent research had given dairy farmers more choice for bulls with better fertility ABVs and more confidence in those bulls.
“The reliability of the Daughter Fertility ABV has improved significantly and there are more bulls with much higher Daughter Fertility ABVs to choose from. This is the outcome of collaborative work between ADHIS and the Dairy Futures CRC,” she said.
TheCattleSite News Desk