DairyNZ Fertility Focus Report version 3
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It’s been a decade since the InCalf programme was released in New Zealand by DairyNZ and there have been many advances in what we know about herd reproductive performance.
In line with the increased knowledge, the InCalf book for NZ dairy farmers 2nd edition was released in 2018, the InCalf training programme has been redeveloped and piloted in 2018 and now we have an updated Fertility Focus Report to share with the sector.
With the ban of inductions, herd’s calving patterns are no longer influenced by the practice and now accurately reflect the previous season’s reproductive performance. Average mating lengths have shortened and more 15-month heifers are being mated ahead of the herd. These changes demanded adjustments to the calving pattern targets and triggers on the Fertility Focus Report. The changes also give clarity around performance after week six of mating and allows us to adjust the not-in-calf rate targets to what is realistic and achievable.
When Fertility Focus Reports were first produced in NZ in 2007, there were fewer than 500 herds producing high quality detailed reports. Now we have more than 4000 herds with detailed reports and their data is pouring into Dairy Statistics, giving a more accurate picture of herd reproductive performance in NZ.
From this data we have been able to adjust the targets and triggers behind the Fertility Focus Report to accurately reflect what is achievable on farm.
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The report uses existing herd data to calculate and present the key KPIs of herd reproductive performance. It then compares your herd's performance against targets based on the performance of the top 25% of the industry.
The results of your report can be used with the Herd Assessment Pack Tools to predict your increased income from making improvements in the measured management areas.
Where can I get Fertility Focus Report?
Interpreting the report
A report for your herd can be detailed, intermediate or basic and analyse up to three years of herd records to monitor performance over successive seasons. It supports seasonal, split calving and year-round calving herds (herds that take more than 25 weeks for 80% of the herd to calve).
The report is broken down into three sections and an annotated example is provided below:
- Overall herd reproductive performance
- Drivers of the 6 week in-calf rate
- Key indicators to areas for improvement
The InCalf Fertility Focus User's Guide explains what information is required to generate a Fertility Focus Report and how the Fertility Focus Report numbers are calculated and interpreted.
Frequently asked questions
What is a realistic improvement in a farm’s 6-week in-calf rate?
Farmer dependant! Some can anticipate a small percentage increase but some may have made a drastic change to their system and could anticipate drastic results! But that isn’t the norm. Plan for small incremental changes, but they will add up over time.
Are the top quartile herds always the same herds?
In the National Herd Fertility Study and LIC data of detailed DairyNZ InCalf Fertility Focus Reports there was a strong association of the top performing herds remaining in the top each season.
How do conception rates between natural mating beef herds and dairy herds compare?
Beef herds do conceive better but there are a lot more complexities with dairy farming, and stressors on dairy animals so it isn’t a fair comparison.
What is an early-aged pregnancy diagnosis?
Anything equal or under 122 days. With our average mating length now 75 days, scanning can be performed six weeks after mating has ended and capture the necessary info to age the pregnancies.
With split calving herds do you have to run DairyNZ InCalf Fertility Focus Reports for each herd?
Yes, but the recording programme will make it simple for you to select which herd and season to run the report for.
If there are “funny calvings” from a farm entering them as a batch, what happens to the report?
The DairyNZ InCalf Fertility Focus Report will be unable to run if there are too many suspicious calvings entered.
What happens to the DairyNZ InCalf Fertility Focus Report when a farm performs AB, puts the bull out, then continues AB with short gestation semen at the end of mating?
The report determines the entire mating period to be AB but the results are usually reliable if the pregnancy testing has occurred within the appropriate window.
Does milk pregnancy testing overwrite early-aged pregnancy testing results?
No, the first results entered will be the ones used by the DairyNZ InCalf Fertility Focus Report. If the milk pregnancy testing occurs first the farmer can request the results not to be entered into their recording programme.
Why are not-in-calf (or “empty”) rates not single digits anymore?
We don’t mate for as long as we used to! The longer a farm mates for the more chance they have to get cows in calf.