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How to maximise pregnancy rates across the remainder of the breeding season

Doreen Corridan and Stuart Childs join Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s episode of the Dairy Edge to give advice on how to maximise pregnancy rates across the remainder of the breeding season and how to avoid a lull in calvings that arise during the transition from AI to the stock bull.

Doreen highlights the increase in demand for the bull in groups of heifers, in particular where a synchronisation protocol and/or sexed semen is used. In this scenario, a high proportion of heifers may repeat in a 3-4 day window. A second round of AI should be considered to ensure high pregnancy rates early in the breeding season.

Stuart explains that the fertility ‘MOT’ test that is carried out on the stock bull, while useful to make sure a bull is fertile, is only valid on the test day, but reminds us that we must monitor the stock bulls throughout the breeding season.

Furthermore, Doreen identifies problems that can arise: excessive weight loss and lethargy in young bulls and lameness in mature bulls.

To avoid a lull in calving when transitioning from AI to the stuck bull, both Stuart and Doreen recommend that you continue to AI cows that come in heat for at least 10-14 days while the bull settles in with the herd.

The use of beef AI later in the breeding season offers the opportunity to use a panel of beef bulls to match to cows and heifers based on calving difficult while also selecting for shorter gestation length. 

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast go to the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thedairyedge