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Key Steps to a Successful Breeding Season

Quality Grass for the Bred Cow

As the breeding season kicks into full swing the aim is to boost the metabolic profile of breeding cows to enhance conception rates. This should involve providing the dairy cow with highly dense quality forages such as grass and grass silage and concentrates. Although grass covers remain tight across the country, dairy farmers need to be checking and calculating daily intakes as much as possible. For a successful breeding season following the six weeks of breeding via AI or a stock bull, the main objective is for cows to be in a positive energy balance situation at the breeding season, with as less stress as possible.

Supplements for Cows

In terms of mineral profiling, I recommend that cows are given extra supplements of trace elements, in particular copper, zinc, selenium and iodine together with vitamins A, D and elevated levels of vitamin E for immune function. These minerals can be provided via feed in the parlour, in a mix or through water dispensers. I highly recommend the 14% Hi-Maize Dairy (2-6) Cubes.

Body Condition Score

Body condition score is an item that always draws my attention and its role in cow fertility should never be underestimated. It is very important to monitor body condition at this vital time. I recommend all cows for breeding should be fed generous levels of feed to ensure a high plain of nutrition and to give the best possible chance for breeding. Once bred I recommend to keep feeding generously for at least 40 days to avoid embryonic losses that can follow breeding.


Vaccinations at this time of year are also an important consideration and must be completed now for particular viruses e.g. BVD, Leptospirosis, Salmonella, IBR. It is important that cows are healthy and are treated for worms, lice and liver fluke paying particular attention to withdrawal periods. I also advise following a breeding program of 6 weeks and cows should be scanned to identify non cycling cows and treat specifically to the diagnosed problem. Such problems can include, silent cycling, metritis and poor body condition.

In summary, the best policy for successful breeding season is a combination of a few key parameters; nutrition, body condition, metabolic status, mineral profiling, health and stressors. An imbalance of any of these parameters will have serious consequences on the reproductive performance of the herd.

For further information or advice please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Connolly’s RED MILLS ruminant team.

  • Tags:
  • Agri
  • animal health
  • Body Condition Scoring
  • breeding
  • cows
  • fertility
  • grass
  • minerals