Earlier calving thanks to genetics

Calving on many dairy farms will be earlier next season, thanks to bulls from LIC with genetics which shorten the gestation length.

“This year’s SGL dairy bull team will naturally deliver offspring an average 10 days earlier next season. That’s pretty significant for a farm’s calving pattern and production,” says Malcolm Ellis, SGL breeding programme manager.

Malcolm Ellis, SGL breeding programme manager.

LIC is making plans to get more cows in-calf at Christmas in response to high demand for its short gestation genetics and as farmers find new ways to maximise the benefits this season.

The company has already set a new semen record this season with 142,006 straws for artificial insemination dispatched from its Newstead laboratory in one day.

More than five million straws will be processed by Christmas Eve when the peak time usually ends - but this season farmers want more.

“It’s been a cracker of a season here at LIC, and the massive response to short gestation length has been a huge part of that.

“Farmers’ first priority for the breeding season is to carry out the matings that will create the next generation of high genetic merit offspring. However, as they plan for zero use of inductions, empty rates are at the forefront of their minds more than ever.”

Orders for SGL are more than double last season’s total, with more coming in each day as farmers incorporate the short gestation solution into their existing mating plans, either at the tail-end of AB before the bulls go out, or, somewhat surprisingly says Malcolm, after the natural mating period.

“Farmers have been quick to see the merit in adding a period of SGL to the end of their standard AB plan. The extra days in milk will be gold next spring, but the real advantage is the ability to take the pressure of the bulls.

“A 500-cow farmer doing four weeks AB often doesn’t calculate that there are 234 non-pregnant cows are waiting for the natural bull team. That’s 12 cows cycling a day. But by adding two weeks of SGL matings, the bulls will only be dealing with 5.5 cows a day which is much more achievable, and in many cases, a more economical option too.”


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