Activity monitor
August 18, 2017

3 Do’s and Don’ts of Reproduction Technology

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

As dairy farmers, there is an increasing amount of reproductive technology and research at your fingertips. However, the technology can only be as good as how it’s implemented. So it’s critical your team knows the highest and best use of the technology available to them. “There’s right ways and wrong ways,” says Paul Fricke of University Wisconsin at Madison dairy science program. “If you’re going to adopt a technology you have to use it in a way that best improves your performance.”

Do: Fertility program for first insemination

Don’t: Rely on 100% estrus detection on first service.

Activity monitoring systems have become increasingly popular over the past few years. While they can help your staff detect heat in many of your cows, Fricke says it will never catch all of them. “There’s problems with estrus expression in lactating dairy cows,” he says.

Fricke advises farmers to pair this new technology with a fertility program for the best results.

“I think they can work extremely well, but the idea that we can use them and then we don’t have to synchronize cows won’t work very well,” he says.

Do: Identify non pregnant cows after AI

Don’t: Do it too early after AI

“There’s a lot of technology to determine pregnancy, but the biggest mistake I see is people using these technologies too early,” Fricke says. 

As ultrasound machines become more affordable, transrectal ultrasonography is starting to replace transrectal palpation as the first choice for veterinarians according to a survey of reproductive practices on large dairies conducted by Fricke. While ultrasound technology can detect pregnancy as early as 28 days after the date of service, a study Fricke conducted found that early pregnancy diagnosis should not be conducted earlier than 30 days, because that’s when an embryo’s heartbeat can be detected.

“Don’t use ultrasoundology too early,” he says. “If you’re trying to detect pregnancy too early you’ll have a high pregnancy loss rate.”

Pregnancy-associated glycoproteins are testing pregnancy with 95% accuracy on cows that are at least 60 days post calving. However, Fricke says they are most accurate after 32 days post insemination.  

Do: Couple non pregnancy diagnosis with a strategy to rapidly re-inseminate cows

Don’t: Submit nonpregnant cows without a CL to Resynch protocol

“If you put your non-CL cows on an ov-synch protocol, you won’t have much success,” Fricke says. “We have to look at ways to look at those non-CL cows.”

He recommends adding a prostaglandin into the protocol or using a progesterone insert.