Extending AB Period
3 min read
Changing mating management on your dairy farm can offer benefits but comes with potential risks. This page outlines the pros and cons of options such as combining artificial breeding (AB) with natural mating, extending the AB period, or using AB exclusively. Advantages can include reduced disease risk, more dairy replacements, potential extra income, and better performance monitoring. However, risks include potentially poorer reproductive performance and logistical challenges. Every farm's situation is different, so carefully assess yours to determine the best approach. If changes are made, ensure communication with all involved and develop a solid mitigation plan for any potential issues.
Heightened biosecurity in New Zealand, among other reasons, has led some farmers to consider changing their mating management on farm.
Whether you are thinking of combining artificial breeding (AB) and natural mating bulls, extending the AB period to reduce the number of bulls needed, re-starting AB in the last few weeks of mating, or implementing AB through the whole mating period, the risks and benefits of each option need to be considered.
Every farm’s situation is different and will determine the best option for that farm, so it’s worth assessing your current situation to determine if you should consider a change on your farm.
Even if you don't meet all the criteria below, you can still extend your AB period or adopt all AB. However you will need to have a solid plan in place for how you are going to mitigate those criteria you don’t meet so that you set your herd up for a successful mating period.
Extended AB or all AB makes accurate heat detection even more critical as these can increase heat detection to 10-12 weeks. For more information see Heat Detection.
Talk to your farm adviser, your vet and a farmer that has already extended AB or gone all AB for advice.