LIC, the New Zealand-based genetics company, will fly in a top vet to give a series of talks to help Irish farmers hit key breeding targets on their farms.

Joyce Voogt, Manager of the LIC Reproduction Solutions Team in Hamilton, will detail the key targets dairy farmers should aim for when breeding their herd.

The LIC representative has vast experience of dairy herd fertility for her time as a dairy vet along with first-hand experience of being a share-milker and running the family’s farm in Waikato.

Voogt firmly believes in the central role efficient herd reproduction play in on-farm efficiency and profitability.

“It’s exciting to be part of a team dedicated to helping farmers lift their six-week in-calf rate and develop sustainable herd fertility,” she said.

Is your farm up to the six-week challenge?

As part of the visit, the dairy reproduction expert will highlight the importance of six-week in-calf rate to the profitability of Irish and New Zealand grass-based dairy systems.

According to LIC, milk producers worldwide focus on dairy herd reproduction performance as a core part of their farming business.

And a six-week in-calf rate is a key component of this reproductive performance. However, to access and monitor current performance, farmers must first measure it.

Key Performance indicators for reproductive performance:
  • Six-week in-calf rate
  • Empty rate

According to LIC, a six-week in-calf rate is the percentage of cows to be mated in a group that become pregnant in the first six-weeks of the breeding period.

While empty rate is the percentage of the group that remains non-pregnant at the end of the breeding season.

The New Zealand dairy industry target for a six-week in-calf rate in seasonal-calving herds is 78%. To reach this target 78% of the herd must go in-calf in the first six weeks of the breeding season.

Maximising reproductive performance

To achieve these outcomes farmers must strive to maximise reproductive efficiency by getting as many cows in-calf as quickly as possible once the mating period commences.

Calving is necessary to initiate lactation in dairy cows and a successful mating period is integral to driving the subsequent calving pattern of the herd.

Goals for farmers may include:
  • Maximising the days in milk for each cow by having her calve early in the calving period.
  • Optimising her lifetime production by retaining her longer in the herd.
  • Drive genetic merit with improved selection pressure, retaining the best cows in the herd year-on-year.
  • Maximising the value to the farm business of the progeny generated.

Events – When and where

LIC is holding meetings across Ireland next week, where Voogt will speak about the importance of increasing the six-week in-calf rate on farms.

Event locations:
  • The farm of Noel O’Toole, Killimor, Co. Galway – November 15, 11.00am-1.30pm
  • Listowel Arms Hotel, Listowel, Co. Kerry – November 16, 11.00am-1.30pm
  • Dungarvan Park Hotel, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford – November 17, 2.00pm-4.30pm

To find out further details on the events, please contact Linda O’Neill on 087-9372553 (Midlands and South East) or Denis Kirby on 086-1745666 (West and South West Ireland).