Monitoring submission rates is an important part of having a successful breeding season on dairy farms.

The aim on many farms is to get as many cows as possible in-calf within the first few weeks of the breeding season.

A target set on many farms is for 90% of cows to be submitted for breeding in the first three weeks and 90% of cows to calve in the first six-weeks of the calving season.

These targets are not easily achieved, with a lot of factors needing to go right.

Submission rates

Hitting the target of a 90% submission rate in the first three-weeks is achievable if all cows are cycling at the beginning of breeding.

Although not all the cows will hold to this serve, you are giving them the best chance of going in-calf as early in the season as possible.

To ensure that you are on track to achieve this target, careful monitoring is required.

To achieve the 90% target you need to be submitting 4.3% of your herd each day for breeding.

For a 100-cow herd that is between four and five cows/day submitted and served for breeding.

It is important to note that only cows that are actually served should be counted towards your submission rates; false heats should not be counted.

If you are behind this figure you may struggle to achieve the target of 90%, however if you are ahead of this you are in a good position.

It is important to continue to monitor submission rates over the coming weeks and check cows that have not been submitted.

If you have not seen a cow in heat within the first four weeks she needs to be checked to see if there is an issue.

Breeding season

As the breeding season kicks off and the grazing season appears to have kicked up a gear, monitoring lameness within your herd is important.

Lame cows are less likely to be seen in oestrus; if they are seen ‘in heat’ it is likely to be less intense and last for a shorter period of time.

So, monitoring lameness in cows at this time of year is extremely important.