Missed heats cost approximately €250, a discussion on the economic modelling of the importance of reproductive performance in cattle in seasonal calving patterns revealed at the recent International Cattle Fertility Conference in Westport Co. Mayo.

A 10% increase in calving index was mapped out by Dr Laurence Shalloo, Teagasc Moorepark, showing an opportunity to increase profitability of the business by over €8,200 for a 100-cow dairy herd. This 10% increase refers to the opportunity to achieve an ideal calving interval with 90% of the herd calving in the six-week period.

He claimed that 5% of dairy herds are achieving this 90% figure in Ireland. However, in my opinion, there are many limiting factors preventing this goal being achieved. It is only in demonstration of the potential gains using economic modeling that farmers will be enticed to make changes to their management practices.

The primary focus has to be healthy cows to create healthy food and thereby optimise the opportunity for profitability in your dairy and beef business.

The International Cattle Fertility Conference was the first time that a conference of this nature has been held in Ireland. It is over eight years since a previous international focus had been placed on this subject. It is only in recent years that the dairy and beef industries have realised the economic importance of cattle fertility to the overall optimisation of financial returns to the business.

The conference was held jointly by Teagasc, UCD, BSAS, BCVA and the Cattle Association of Veterinary Ireland.  The primary organisers were Professor Michael Diskin, Teagasc and Dr. Trudee Fair, UCD.

Dr. Dan Ryan is a cow fertility expert and can be contacted at www.cowsDNA.com