The first week in May – typically one of the busiest weeks of the year and this year is no different.
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Getting cows not seen bulling scanned will speed up their return to cycling. / Donal O' Leary

There are two key tasks at this time of year which trump all others – getting cows back in calf and making sure there is quality grass in front of them so as to hit a high peak milk production.

If using tail paint for heat detection, this needs to be topped up every four or five days to keep it fresh and glossy, otherwise there could be more missed heats or false heats.

Farmers that have carried out pre-breeding heat detection should be arranging to get the cows not yet seen bulling scanned.


A proportion of these cows will need a washout while more will need a CIDR or PRID in order to get them back cycling faster than if left to their own devices.

In some cases these cows will have some sort of uterine health problem such as a cyst. In other cases the vet or scanner will recommend that a cow receives a shot of PG in other to get her to short cycle.

These are cows that are already cycling so the PG will just get them to come bulling a little earlier. There should be no difference in conception rate to a heat from PG or a natural heat. That said, many farmers will decide to wait and let them come in naturally.

Interestingly, a share of cows will show strong signs of heat a few days after being handled, even if they didn’t get any extra hormones – the palpitation of the uterus seems to stimulate a heat so that’s also good practice.

A pair of Illinois dairy leaders advocated for reforms to the pricing formulas in the 11 Federal Milk Marketing Orders Sept. 15.

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