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INTEGRATED APPROACH DELIVERS SUPERIOR FERTILITY PERFORMANCE
An innovative new approach to fertility management based on more effective heat detection can deliver a significant improvement in breeding performance according to reproduction and breeding specialists Genus ABS.
Announcing the Breeder Tag System at Livestock 2013 today (3rd July), Genus ABS European Regional Director Andrew Thompson explains that fertility is still a major issue of dairy farms. “Poor fertility continues to be a huge drain on dairy farm profits, in part because it is affected by so many factors. The challenge is to keep on top of so many areas of management. There is no single silver bullet to improving fertility, but the potential benefits are huge. Every day shaved off the national average calving interval is worth around £9 million to the UK industry.
“There is some good news. We understand more about the factors influencing fertility; we know the critical success factors, one of which is heat detection; there is more data available and most importantly the majority of dairy farmers believe they need to improve fertility.
“Time, however, is a concern with farmers telling us that time to detect heat or to interpret data can be at a premium. Genus ABS Breeder Tag System is an innovative new service designed to improve fertility performance by improving heat detection and data analysis, combining the latest technology with expert advice.”
At the heart of the system is a sophisticated pedometer and data recording system providing accurate and timely data on cow activity. Uniquely, data is updated every six minutes, 24 hours a day and is transmitted wirelessly, removing the need for cows to pass by a data collection point. With a range of up to 2km the system is well suited for grazing cows and is also ideal for use on bulling heifers.
“The regular updating of information lets farmers keep a really close eye on performance and make more timely decisions,” comments Genus ABS Technical Services Manager Tim Vigar. “In addition to measuring activity, the pedometers collect extra information including step-count and lying time. Together these give a more accurate overall analysis of behaviour, and better determination of heat.”
As part of the service, Genus ABS provides expert advice to help farmers get the most from the data produced from the system, combined with other data sources to increase the focus on serving the right cow at the right time.
Mr Vigar continues: “By making effective use of all the data farmers on the system have increased heat detection rate and accuracy, leading to reduce calving to first service and calving to conception intervals. In addition, they have managed to avoid the losses associated with missed heats, delayed service and serving cows that are already in calf but showing signs of apparent heat.
“The combination of better, real time data and expert interpretation is helping farmers tackle the problem of sub-optimal fertility performance. Farmers who use Breeder Tag System also have access to the Genus ABS GMS breeding programme helping ensure they are not only serving cows quicker but also breeding the most suitable cows for their business.”
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