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Effective fertility – Optimising reproductive performance

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The major challenge over the breeding season is cow body condition management. Reproductive efficiency is a function of nutrition to optimise intake, cow management, milk solids output and herd genetics. A high submission rate together with high conception rate is essential.

During early lactation there are a number of major challenges;

  • Preparation for calving,
  • Delivery of a healthy calf,
  • Optimising dry matter intake (DMI),
  • Milk solids production,
  • Cleansing and involution of the uterus and
  • Conceiving again.


The current challenge for many farmers is to provide an adequate dry matter intake to prevent body weight loss.

The loss of body condition will delay return to oestrus and its expression.

A missed heat can cost as much as €250 (Ref; Teagasc) and this makes it critically important to bridge the energy gap.

Reducing empty rates from 15% to 10, generates a net return of 1 cent per litre.

The target infertility rate is 5 to 10%.

Concentrate supplementation has a key role to play. The concentrate should supply the following;

  • A balanced high energy profile including by-pass starch.
  • High in digestible fibre.
  • Adequate minerals and vitamins and Bioplex protected copper, zinc, manganese and Selplex protected selenium have been shown to reduce days to first service by 6.6 and to increase conception rate by 7.5%.
  • Novatan reduces dietary protein wastage, leading to lower ammonia production.
  • Magnesium to help prevent grass tetany.


GAIN Animal Nutrition have tailor made products designed to provide solutions, GAIN Spring Breeder 13 Dairy Nut is an innovative pasture supplement with protein protection to support fertility and milk solids.

For more information, please contact your GAIN Business Manager, Glanbia Ireland Branch or visit glanbiaconnect.com.

First Publlished: 31 March 2021

Tagged with: Dairy

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