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Breed, Body Condition Impact Cow Fertility

17 May 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Breed and body condition have a critical impact on fertility, according to preliminary results from Cash Cow research presented at Beef Australia 2012.

An overview of the Cash Cow project presented at Beef Australia 2012 gave producers insights into the range of factors impacting on fertility rates of cows post calving.

Preliminary data from the MLA-funded Northern Australian Beef Fertility Project (Cash Cow) has demonstrated a substantial variation in reproductive performance in herds throughout Queensland, Northern Territory and the Kimberley.

Professor Mike McGowan, project leader from the University of Queensland, honed in on lifting breeding performance at the MLA producer seminar at Beef Australia. His colleague Dr Geoffry Fordyce from the University of Queensland looked at various ways of measuring the efficiency of breeding herds.

Prof McGowan’s presentation examined factors impacting on the percentage of cows pregnant four months after calving and factors impacting on the percentage loss between confirmed pregnancy and weaning.

His analysis showed two key factors stand out as making a difference:

  • Bos indicus females had a lower percentage pregnant by four months after calving and a higher risk of loss between pregnancy and weaning than composite or Bos Taurus females;
  • Body condition prior to calving had a significant effect on re-conception rates (see next week’s edition of fridayfeedback for more on this topic)

Cash Cow data was collected from two reproductive cycles during the project’s study of 60,000 cows from 78 commercial properties over 2009-10. It is being used to identify realistic benchmarks for major reproductive traits such as annual pregnancy rates based on the value achieved by the upper 25 per cent of herds in the study.

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