September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Rockville, Minn.; Stearns County
What was your pregnancy rate average for last year? It was at 23 percent last year.
What is your reproduction program? All the cows are on a sync program and bred after a 60-day waiting period. I have been known to breed cows at 49 days, depending on the individual animal.
Do you use seasonal breeding or avoid certain months? On the sync program, the cows are bred every other Wednesday no matter what. With the heifers, I will usually wait to breed them, especially if it is too hot outside.
How often do you do pregnancy checks? The pregnancy checks for our herd are done every two weeks.
What is your breeding philosophy? I tend to breed for durable cows that work well in a commercial farm setting. Because my barn is kind of hard on cows, I have to select bulls that are strong with good feet and legs. Also, when I look at bulls, I look for a milk value of at least +500 and a Net Merit value of at least +400. I also look for a positive productive life (PL), sire conception rate (SCR) and a calving ease score that is under 8.5. Difficult calving just seems to snowball. I do not use sexed semen, but I do see its value as a tool for easier calvings and getting cows back in the milking string sooner. I use a 50-50 mix of proven and genomic bulls.
What percentage of your herd is bred through A.I. or a bull? All of the cows and heifers on the farm are bred through A.I.
If you use A.I., who breeds your cattle? The breeders from Genex (John and Scott) breed all of the cows on the sync program. I breed all of the heifers and the cows that show heats.
Do you have a different philosophy when breeding heifers vs. cows? I breed the heifers for the same traits as I do the cows, except I will not go over a score of seven for calving ease.
What do you do to settle hard breeders? After the third breeding, I will switch to a young sire. I'll try that twice once she is off the sync program. Depending on the cow, I will attempt another breeding if she shows a heat.
What is your target size/weight/age for breeding heifers? I breed all of the heifers at one year of age and I will give up on her at 18 months.
Is there anything you have done or changed that brought about a significant improvement in your reproductive program? Nothing major has changed.
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