Nebraska Angus

Check Bull Fertility Before The Breeding Season

It won’t be long until breeding season for herds that calve in the spring, and it is never too late to start planning, advises University of Arkansas Professor and veterinarian, Jeremy Powell.

Improvement of next year’s calf crop is dependent upon the breeding decisions you are about to make, writes Professor Powell of Arkansas University.  Herd sire selection should be a thought-provoking and profit-driven decision process, he adds.

Males account for approximately 90 percent of the gene pool, contributing more to the genetic makeup of a herd in one breeding season than a cow contributes in her lifetime.  Selecting genetically superior sires is the fastest approach to herd improvement and, ultimately, bottom line profitability.

Not every bull will fit your production scenario. Resources and goals are different for each cow-calf operation. Nonetheless, sire selection should target an acceptable combination of traits that complement the strengths and weaknesses of the cow herd and match markets.

Ask questions that pertain to your particular production situation.

  • What are your target markets?
  • Are you selling all calves at weaning?
  • If so, what color does that market value the most?
  • Are you planning to background your calves and send them through the feedlot?
  • Are you going to retain any replacement heifers?
  • Are you breeding both heifers and cows?
  • What are your available labor and forage resources?

Answers to these questions will aid you in determining the selection efforts you may want to apply towards economically important traits such as growth, carcass traits and possible maternal per formance. Feet and leg sound ness, libido, disposition, scrotal size, sheath, frame size, composition, breed type and horn presence or absence are also important traits for consideration.

While one may apply more pressure on one or two traits, remember to strike a balance among various traits and avoid extremes. Base the type of sire selected on the purpose of your breeding plan.


Nebraska Angus

My Cow Is Not Cycling: What Do I Do?

Cows in need of help back into normal cycling patterns may benefit from progesterone, especially at this time of year, according to the latest advice from The Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc) in Ireland.

The return to normal cyclic ovarian activity after calving usually occurs, on average, by 30 to 35 days postpartum. The first heat is usually silent, and the first cycle after this heat is usually short (8-12 days). This means that most cows should have commenced displaying behavioural oestrus by days 38-47 post-calving or earlier.

Failure to show signs of heat by 60 days after calving is called Postpartum Anoestrus. This can be due to either True Anoestrus or Suboestrus.

  • Suboestrus is when cows have normal cyclic ovarian activity, but are not detected in oestrus due to weak or silent heats, or due to inadequate observation.
  • True anoestrus is when cows have inactive ovaries.

Approaches to resolving suboestrus should include improving heat detection technique, and ensuring that observations are long enough (30 minutes) and frequent enough (3 – 4 times per day). On-farm milk progesterone kits may also be helpful (if progesterone is high, then the cow is cycling).

Resumption of cyclicity after calving is influenced by nutritional status, body condition score, milk yield, calving difficulty, uterine infection, breed, age, and concurrent disease. Treatment of true anoestrus should first examine the nutritional status and body condition score. These can be improved by increasing pasture allowance, increasing concentrate feeding, and/or reducing the energy output in milk by restricting anoestrus cows to once a day milking. If calving records indicate that some of the anoestrus cows had calving difficulty, or had retained foetal membranes or metritis after calving, these cows should be examined for the presence of pyometra or endometritis. If present, these will first need to be eliminated before treating for anoestrus.

Hormonal treatments can be used to stimulate a resumption of cyclicity, and are most effective if combined with increased energy intake. Treatments involve use of progesterone-releasing devices (e.g., CIDR, PRID) which result in ovulation, and resumption of normal cyclicity. At this stage of the year (late May), it is desirable to breed cows to the ovulation induced by the progesterone treatment (i.e. breed them as soon as possible). The treatment outlined at the bottom of the page stimulates resumption of cyclicity, and also facilitates fixed-time AI (FTAI) at the end of the hormone protocol. Fixed-time AI means there is no requirement for behavioural oestrus behaviour, and hence heat detection is not required.


Black Line Angus 4567

Updates to National Cattle Evaluation

Evaluation released April 6, 2014, includes several important changes:

  • Updated EPD/$Value percentile tables, breed averages and
    revised Main and Supplement sire listings.
  • Updated economic assumptions that impact the $Values. Click here for details.
  • Genomic-enhanced EPDs are impacted by a recalibration of the HD 50K predictions which
    is applied to both the Zoetis HD 50K and GeneSeek GGP-HD tests. Click here for details.
  • Heifer pregnancy EPDs include HD 50K predictions as part of the weekly evaluation.
  • Updated genomic percent ranks (1-100 scale).

Read more

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