As the breeding season kicks off on most dairy farms, many farmers are opting for artificial insemination (AI) as their primary method. However, some are also turning to stockbulls to ensure successful breeding. The majority of farmers will use dairy AI to obtain replacements, while beef AI will be used on cows where replacements are not required. After approximately six weeks of AI, some farmers will introduce the stockbull, although others may do so earlier.
It is crucial that any stockbull on the farm is fertility tested before breeding begins. An infertile bull can lead to disastrous results when scanning time comes around. Even if the bull was sold as fertility tested, it is still worth double-checking. Additionally, it is important to note that a bull that has worked in the past does not guarantee that he will work again. A variety of factors can impact a bull’s fertility, potentially resulting in infertility or sub-fertility. Neglecting to check the bull’s fertility can lead to significant time and productivity losses during the breeding season.
Before turning out the bull, farmers must determine how many cows are not in calf and whether the bull will be able to cover them all. If too many cows are not in calf, the bull may struggle to cover them all, leading to a higher empty rate. It is also recommended to continue with AI for approximately a week after the bull has been turned out, allowing him time to get up and running.
In summary, as dairy farms begin their breeding season, farmers are using a combination of AI and stockbulls to ensure successful breeding. However, it is crucial to fertility test any stockbulls before breeding begins, as neglecting to do so can result in significant time and productivity losses. Additionally, farmers must evaluate the number of cows not in calf and their stockbull’s ability to cover them all before turning him out. Continuing with AI for a week after the bull is turned out can also help ensure a successful breeding season.