Learn how to build a better beef cow

05 Aug, 2018 04:00 AM
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Dr Enoch Bergman will be at the Muresk Institute, Northam, on Monday, August 13 where he will deliver his ‘Building a Better Cow’ presentation.
Dr Enoch Bergman will be at the Muresk Institute, Northam, on Monday, August 13 where he will deliver his ‘Building a Better Cow’ presentation.

ARE you interested in improving the reproductive efficiency of your herd and ramping up your genetics at the same time?

If you do then you will not want to miss the presentation by veterinarian Enoch Bergman on Monday, August 13, at the Muresk Institute, Northam.

The Institute has hosted Dr Bergman in the past where he provided a successful presentation to producers on strategies to improve the lifetime reproductive efficiency of beef cattle.

This time he will discuss ‘Building a Better Cow’ as part of an afternoon field day which will include a live demonstration of Fixed Time Artificial Insemination (FTAI) over Muresk’s demonstration herd.

Dr Bergman said by implementing modern synchronisation programs producers can achieve more pregnancies in a tighter window from heifers, by shortening and simplifying the calving season.

“Synchronisation programs also provide windows of opportunity to integrate FTAI into your heifer mating program as well, allowing you to source semen from proven low birth weight, high weaning weight bulls to produce the best possible crop of calves out of your heifers,” Dr Bergman said.

“If you want better cows, you have to build them.”

The field day will also include data from a three year Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) project underway in Esperance conducted by the beef branch of ASHEEP and Swans Veterinary Services.

Dr Bergman said the MLA PDS is designed to directly compare the financial outcomes of integrating FTAI into commercial heifer mating programs versus traditional mating.

“On enrolled properties, a randomly selected proportion of their heifers are synchronised to be artificially inseminated on the planned mating start date, and the remainder of the heifers are joined with bulls as per normal,” Dr Bergman said.

“Ten days later, the AI’d heifers rejoin the naturally mated heifers and bulls.

“Essentially, we hi-jacked half of the heifers on a number of Esperance farms that hadn’t previously been AI’d.

“We have tracked conception rates, dystocia rates (calving trouble), calf deaths, heifer deaths, and calving distributions so far and intend to capture rebreeding rates and weaning rates this spring.”

Dr Bergman said they were in their second year of the program and the response from the participants had been phenomenal.

“Most have indicated they will begin integrating FTAI into their heifer mating programs once the trial concludes and some have already dropped out in order to integrate AI over all of their heifers,” he said.

“That is the goal of a PDS project, so I guess we can consider it successful so far.”

The second year of the program and the collation of last year’s results is well under way.

“Our goal is to be able to quantify the cost and financial return of integrating FTAI into commercial heifer mating programs,” Dr Bergman said.

“By tightening up the calving distribution through synchrony and reducing calving trouble both by simplifying observation and bull selection we can set heifers up to succeed going forward into their second joining.

“This is where I believe the real value lies.”

The PDS is designed to measure some of the outcomes of strategies advocated in Dr Bergman’s Building a Better Cow presentation.

The talk will focus on strategies to optimise conception rates and improve the likelihood of heifers experiencing a short early calving without calving complications.

“If a young cow successfully delivers her second calf early in her second calving season, she is more likely to be and remain a profitable animal,” he said.

“Each year thereafter we can expect her to be more likely to calve earlier and therefore wean a heavier calf.”

He said in order to calve early as a 3yo, it has to have calved early as a 2yo heifer without calving trouble and as producers we have to make this happen.

The half day presentation, tailored to commercial beef producers, will commence at 1pm and should be finished by 4:30pm.

The cost to attendee is $50, while there is a discounted rate of $25 for students.

p To Register to attend contact Prue Jenkins at the Muresk Institute on 08 9690 1556 or email: prue.jenkins@ dtwd.wa.gov.au

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