Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Farmers encouraged to take challenge

A free programme to help dairy farmers lift the reproductive performance of their herds and get more cows in calf in the first six weeks of mating has been launched. The Six-Week Challenge has been developed by LIC with support from Dairy NZ and other industry partners, to boost  the average six-week in-calf rate from 65% towards the industry target of 78%.

“Getting more cows in calf in the first six weeks of mating can have a big impact on their bottom line through increased milk production, less empties and tighter mating and calving periods,” LIC chief executive and dairy farmer Mark Dewdney said.

“It also allows them to get more from their genetics and artificial breeding investment, with more cows carrying high breeding worth (BW) calves and therefore increased selection pressure for culling, which will speed up genetic gain.”

The Six-Week Challenge was developed after research showed herd reproductive performance was one of farmers’ top concerns. It supports the DairyNZ InCalf Programme and encourages farmers to make incremental changes throughout the year to get more cows in calf quicker at mating time, highlighting areas such as heifer rearing, body condition and nutrition, heat detection, and bull management. Further support and advice can be sought from vets or farm consultants.

Farmers can register to take the challenge at www.6weeks.co.nz. They will receive an information pack and seasonal planning tools, as well as support, so they can benchmark themselves against others in their area.

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