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Cocci Corner - Effects on Dairy Heifers

In Ireland, the vast majority of our milking herds operate on a seasonal, block-calving production model.

At present, the average Irish cow is achieving 3.5 lifetime lactations. Yet, peak lactation yield generally occurs in lactation five, or later.

Considering the cost of getting a heifer from birth to calving down at two years-of-age is approximately €1,600 (according to Teagasc), improving our animals' longevity can provide a better return on this investment.

What contributes to this lifetime lactations figure is a lot of cows with excellent longevity, coupled with a turnover of heifers and young cows that don't last in the herd.

Why?

The bovine reproductive system works on a feedback mechanism. This is based on how well the animal is developing and its body condition. When producing in a seasonal system, we need heifers to come in to puberty and then go in-calf as quickly as possible. Heifer thrive is a huge determinant of the rate of the onset of puberty. As the animal develops, a feedback mechanism will 'switch on' the reproductive system - i.e. puberty occurs. If the animal is not thriving, this will be delayed. This scenario feeds-in to the guidelines for animals to be 60% of their breed mature weight at bulling.

Later puberty means later calving and more of a chance our animal will slip outside defined breeding periods subsequently.

Research shows that the first six months of life are the most important influencing age at first heat and subsequent conception rates.

Diseases like coccidiosis significantly affect thrive during this crucial period.

Beating clinical coccidiosis and managing it in your dairy farm's environment is possible - use this checklist to help you do so.

Watch the video below and check out these articles

What is Coccidiosis?

How soon can animals get Coccidiosis?

How does an anti-coccidial drench work?

Preventing coccidiosis

In the UK, the majority of our milking herds operate on a seasonal, block-calving production model.

At present, the average Irish cow is achieving 3.5 lifetime lactations. Yet, peak lactation yield generally occurs in lactation five, or later.

Considering the cost of getting a heifer from birth to calving down at two years-of-age is approximately £1,400, improving our animals' longevity can provide a better return on this investment.

What contributes to this lifetime lactations figure is a lot of cows with excellent longevity, coupled with a turnover of heifers and young cows that don't last in the herd.

Why?

The bovine reproductive system works on a feedback mechanism. This is based on how well the animal is developing and its body condition. When producing in a seasonal system, we need heifers to come in to puberty and then go in-calf as quickly as possible. Heifer thrive is a huge determinant of the rate of the onset of puberty. As the animal develops, a feedback mechanism will 'switch on' the reproductive system - i.e. puberty occurs. If the animal is not thriving, this will be delayed. This scenario feeds-in to the guidelines for animals to be 60% of their breed mature weight at bulling.

Later puberty means later calving and more of a chance our animal will slip outside defined breeding periods subsequently.

Research shows that the first six months of life are the most important influencing age at first heat and subsequent conception rates.

Diseases like coccidiosis significantly affect thrive during this crucial period.

Beating clinical coccidiosis and managing it in your dairy farm's environment is possible - use this checklist to help you do so.

Watch the video below and check out these articles

What is Coccidiosis?

How soon can animals get Coccidiosis?

How does an anti-coccidial drench work?

Preventing coccidiosis

01
Mar