End of the 2014 Breeding Season

Doreen Corridan MVB MRCVS PhD 
Munster Cattle Breeding

Breeding Season Cows


1st July mating is 10th April calving
If cows are bred on the 1st July; their expected calving date is the 10th April

Key point: The next 3 weeks (first 3 weeks July) are key to avoid empty cows

Key tasks for the last 4 weeks of the breeding season
1. Scanning all of your cows bred 30 days and not repeated and those calved 25 days not bred now is hugely beneficial. This will identify empty cows in your herd and give them a final opportunity to be bred. 
2. Synchronisation and fixed timed AI is working well on farms. Synchronise your cows that are empty and not yet bred.
3. Synchronisation on 1st July, means mating cows on the 11th July and repeats on 31st. This gives the opportunity for two matings; the first is fixed timed and the second is a predetermined few days later. You need to be more vigilant than usual on the synchronised cows between these dates.


Intensity of heat detection-each cow now has only 10 mounts each now
Vasectomised bulls are a superb heat detection aid at this stage; just ensure you keep the chinball topped up.
Herdowners are finding the scratch cards great at this time of year to pick up heats. Following a scanning you can focus on the empty ones and place the scratch cards on those.

The following sires are above average on conception rate in this breeding season

The use of these bulls will boost conception rates

Stock Bull
Ensure your stock bull is easy calving. Cows calving at the end of March and April, dried off in November/December, tend to be over conditioned and therefore need an easier calving sire, than the February calvers, to ensure they calve down easy and go back in-calf quickly.

If you are unsure about the bull’s fertility get him fertility tested by your vet. If your vet is not equipped to do so he will inform you of a neighbouring practice that can.

For compact calving you need 1 mature bull for every 20 empty cows. If you don’t have enough bulls to match this ratio, for the first 2-3 weeks when you have more than one cow coming into heat each day, AI the cows in addition to having the bull running with them. This practice works very well, as the bull will pick up the cows in heat and they are both served and AI’d at the same time.

Key point: Your stock bull needs to be easy calving, fertile (have checked by a vet if unsure) and allocated to a maximum of 20 cows (mature bull).

KYA shortest gestation beef bull available i.e. -4 days
KYA is superb Angus bull for use on dairy cows and heifers. He is exceptionally easy calving at 0.9% and is the shortest gestation beef bull available. The calves are your typical Angus calves with superb coats of mossy hair-great sellers. He is worth using to ensure late calvers calve early, easy and go back in-calf quickly.

In-calf heifers
Ensure the in-calf heifers are well fed with grass to ensure they are achieving their target weights. Discuss with your vet what a suitable dosing regime should be for your farm. On most farms these heifers will benefit from a worm dose in July. In areas of high Liver Fluke a dose in July will reduce the fluke burden. Closamectin can be used to treat fluke and worms or Trodax to treat fluke only for in-calf heifers if they are 6 months from calving; these are useful doses in high fluke areas.

Key point: Check your in-calf heifers’ weight gain.  Are they achieving their target weight gain? If not, are you allocating them enough quality grass and/or are parasites holding them back?

If you are on an IBR vaccination programme, NOW (this month) is the time to review it:
• If your programme is every 6 months one of your vaccines in due in July as in spring February calving herds it is important to boost one month before calving in January and 6 months later, which is now.
• If you are on an annual programme with an inactivated IBR in January the young stock need their live vaccine this month.  Ensure they are over 3 months of age.

Key point: July is the time to review your IBR vaccination programme

Johnes Disease
It is worthwhile for every herdowner to check the entire herd over 2 years of age for Johnes. If you are milk recording this can be done on the same sample that is collected by the recorder for fat and protein-check with your milk recording company for details.  Patrick Kelly 022 43228.


If you are not recording it can be done at your annual test either by using the same blood as that is taken for brucellosis or taking a separate blood if you are not scheduled this year.

Key point: Doreen recommends every herdowner to check the entire herd over 2 years of age for Johnes. Testing can be combined with milk recording or brucellosis tests.