6 Week In-calf rate​

On Farm Benefits: 6 Week in-Calf Rate

Six week in-calf rate - the percentage of a herd that gets in-calf during the first six weeks of mating - is perhaps the number one measure of your dairy herd's reproductive performance.

More than just a measure of fertility though, the 6 week in-calf rate is also an indicator of how well a farm is operating, and delivers other benefits such as:

  • More days in milk

  • Cows recover sooner

  • Earlier start of cycling

  • More chances to conceive and build an optimum herd

  • Fewer empty cows (and wastage), and

  • More calves produced through AI.

​The importance of a tighter 6 week calving pattern

The industry target is to get 78% of your herd in-calf in the first six weeks of mating. The current national average is 65% and top farmers are achieving 75% (Source: DairyNZ). Ask any farmer with a high 6 week in-calf rate and they’ll tell you how it makes their life easier, the job more enjoyable and the farm more profitable.

Gallagher product manager, Dan Loughnane, says “You can’t control the milk price and you can’t control the weather, but if the average dairy farmer can lift their six-week in-calf rate from 65% to 75%, that’s worth an extra $60 per cow/year, which equates to around $24,000 for a typical farm.”

Check out the numbers here:

Getting cows’ in-calf as quickly as possible is the basis of good dairy farming

Earlier calving leads to earlier recovery, cycling, and more chances to conceive - which means more cows in-calf earlier. So missing the crucial 6 week calving window can have a significant knock-on effect on the next season’s herd performance. Download an overview of the full reporductive cycle.

Since gestation takes approximately 282 days (section 4) it quickly becomes clear that missing the 6 week calving window (section 1) means cows recover and cycle later (section 2), which means they conceive later and/or conceive to bulls rather than an AI event (section 3). Or miss the conception opportunity entirely and end up as empties to be culled.

How to improve 6 week in-calf rates

As reproductive performance, is often cited as a top concern for famers, it’s no wonder they are always on the lookout for ways and means to improve 6 week in-calf rates.

The ideal is a low cost, easy to apply technology that eliminates reliance on skill and experience in correctly identifying heats, yet improves on what the best human operators are capable of. Gallagher’s Flashmate® Electronic Heat Detector - addresses these needs on all fronts and adds value beyond just heat detection. Find out for yourself how Gallagher Flashmate can provide a range of benefits to you and your farm’s profitability.

Dairy Calves

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