Paul Duban checks the computer for his herd’s activity data.
Paul Duban checks the computer for his herd’s activity data. PHOTO YB KATE RECHTZIGEL
Paul, Audrey and Clarissa Duban
Du-Ayr Dairy
Faribault, Minn.
Rice County
165 cows

What was your pregnancy rate average last year? 31%

What was your voluntary waiting period for cows? For heifers? For cows, 60-80 days in milk based on production. For heifers, 13-15 months based on size and breed.

What is your first service conception rate? 61%

What is your reproduction program? Do you use a synchronization program? We breed off mostly natural heats and give a shot of prostaglandin if no heats by 80 days in milk. We rarely have to synch them.

How do you observe for heat? SCR activity/rumination collars and we watch while we’re in the barn.

How do you confirm pregnant or open cows? All by milk sample through DHIA and in between tests.

What is your breeding philosophy? How do you select bulls? What traits do you focus on? Does fertility play a role in bull selection? We look for good feet and legs, good milk, higher component percentage and teat placement. We always use bulls with a positive daughter pregnancy rate.

How are cows and heifers bred? Do you have a different philosophy for breeding both? All are A.I. bred.

What do you do to settle hard breeders? We use a high conception bull or a beef bull.

How many times do you try to breed a cow before you sell her? Up to six times depending on production and if she’s a barn favorite.

Is there anything you have done or changed that brought about a significant improvement in your reproductive program? SCR collars and changed our dry cow nutrition program so they can get off to a fast start right away after freshening.

Tell us about your farm. Du-Ayr Dairy is a family owned and operated farm established in 1992. We milk our mixed herd of Holsteins, Jerseys and Ayrshires with two Lely A4 robots that were installed in 2016 in a new, natural ventilation freestall barn. We raise all our own replacements.