Cycling cows are the product of good management. Happy, healthy, well-fed cows will cycle and will conceive. Anestrous cows are a symptom of a management shortcoming, in either health, comfort and/or nutrition.
Cows don’t suddenly decide to stop cycling for no reason.
About 80% of cows will naturally cycle before 60 DIM in a well-managed herd (click here to read more).
If a smaller percentage of the herd is naturally cycling prior to 60 DIM, there must be a health/nutrition/cow-comfort problem. This problem, or combination of problems, is not only causing cows to not cycle, but is more than likely to be causing the affected cows to make less milk than they can produce.
Less milk equals less revenue equals less profit!
Not knowing the percent of naturally cycling cows before 60 DIM clouds our understanding of the existence and the effect of health, nutrition and comfort management gaps on the cows. The use of blanket presynch programs buries the management gaps even deeper. You can’t fix something you don’t know much about.
Cycling cows don’t need to be enrolled in a presynch program, they’re already cycling. They’re telling us when they are ready to be bred.
Cow 4524 in Central WI herd. Showing three heats before 60 DIM. First heat at 19 DIM, second at 42 DIM, third at 63 DIM. She was bred at 63 DIM and is confirmed pregnant.
Non-cycling cows are not all the same.
Some cows are making a lot of milk and are in negative energy balance. They’re not ready! A presynch program will not magically make them ready.
Non-cycling cows suffering from health issues will benefit from a presynch program to ensure their place in the herd, but a few of these may just contribute more to herd profitability by being classified DNB early on in their lactation.
Activity graph of cow 3919 in a central WI herd showing the period between 6 DIM to 60 DIM. She was given a DNB status at 55 DIM after having a distressed calving and eight health incidents before 60 DIM. Her weekly average production is 113 lbs at 60 DIM.
Having accurate information about each cow is the basis of profitable decision making.
Accurate heat detection is not only about the cows that are cycling, it’s very much about the cows that are not cycling. Having an crystal clear understanding of what is happening in the herd is critical for the short and long term economic success of the herd.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!
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