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Late calvers

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Laurence Cohen

Author

12 November 2020

With November already upon us and the year speeding by, hopefully, we have had all the cows calved or if not – we are only waiting for a small handful to uncross their legs. However, as mating has started for some and just about to for others, we are left with the issue of these late cows. 

Generally, once a cow becomes a late calver she remains so until either she drops out of the herd as an empty cow or becomes a carryover. This has become a lot more of an issue for farmers since the abolition of inductions which allowed shortening the calving period at the expense of the calf. SO it leaves us with the question, what can we do with these late calvers?

At calving the uterus of the cow is huge, containing around 100 kg (40kg of calf, and 60 L of fluid). Before the cow can conceive the uterus must remodel itself, clear out any remnants of the previous pregnancy and get rid of any infection present. This is a huge ask and is wholly unrealistic to expect it to be able to do all this in <35 days (though it can happen! But even with a CIDR program, a conception rate for cows calved <35 days is <15%).

After the involutary period of 35 days, the best option is to treat her as a non-cycling cow and start her on the Prosynch Plus CIDR Program. This, however, will mean that she will not be fixed timed AI’d till week 5 of mating which then leaves only 1 or 2 cycles with the bull to conceive. To truly lower the number of late calvers, working to compact the calving spread in future seasons should be the long term goal. This can be achieved with good BCS of the cows going into mating, pre-heat detection (where you should be getting around 5% of the herd a day coming up), and help with synchronising programs.

For more information or to discuss your options please give the clinic a call today.

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