Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Fertility: beef herd management

Synonym(s): Breeding management

Contributor(s): Keith Cutler, Jonathan Statham , Neil Paton

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Introduction

  • The management of fertility and, by definition therefore, the management of infertility, in the beef suckler herd is paramount in ensuring herd performance and profitability.
  • Although frequently the approach taken, it is inadequate to rely on the happy accident of cows conceiving after being introduced to the bull, carrying their pregnancy to term and then producing a viable and vigorous calf.  
  • Careful management of the many and varied factors that influence fertility is necessary to ensure cows conceive in satisfactory numbers at the optimum time to ensure a tight calving pattern.
  • A tight calving pattern is desirable to facilitate optimal calf management and maximize future fertility and cow retention within the herd. It will deliver:
    • Cows at a similar stage in the production cycle at the same time.
    • Calves of a similar age and uniform size.
    • More efficient use of labor.
    • More weight of calf per cow mated at weaning.

Cow factors

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Calving periods

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Nutrition and body condition

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The bull

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Heifer Management

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Assisted Reproductive Technologies

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Infectious disease

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Measuring Output

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Borsberry S (2007) Common causes of Infertility/Poor Productivity in Suckler Herds and an Introduction into the Analysis of Suckler Performance. Cattle Practice 15 (2), 130-137 VetMedResource.
  • Caldow G, Riddell I, Stuart H & Lowman B (2007) Improving Efficiency of the Beef Cow Herd. Cattle Practice 15 (2), 138-144 VetMedResource.
  • Caldow G (2004) Biosecurity, does it have a place in the management of beef herds in the United Kingdom? Proceedings of the British Cattle Breeders Club (59), 13-16.
  • McGowan M (2001) Bull Selection & Management-the veterinarian’s role. Cattle Practice 9, 173-178.
  • Lowman B (2004) Estimated Breeding Values for Beef Cattle. In Practice 26 (4), 206-211 VetMedResource.
  • Lowman B (1988) Suckler Cow Management. In Practice 10, 91-100.

Other sources of information

  • Borsberry S (2004) Herd Fertility Management: Beef Herds. In: Bovine Medicine –diseases & husbandry of cattle. 2nd edn. Blackwell Publishing. pp 652-662.
  • Logue D N & Crawshaw W M (2004) Bull Infertility. In: Bovine Medicine –diseases & husbandry of cattle. 2nd edn. Blackwell Publishing. pp 594-626.


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