Here in New Zealand we have begun a new season of milking cows. We are most of the way through calving and are beginning to turn our attention towards breeding season. The seasonal nature of the business here requires we get cows pregnant within a short timeframe whether they are ready or not. Synchronization programs utilizing CiDRs are our primary weapon to combat nature and are used extensively here as well as many places throughout the world. I often get questions and comments regarding the failure of these programs to achieve the desired goals of the farmer. With that in mind, I often wonder, “Has the program failed to perform or have we failed to perform the program?”
I remember listening to Bill Thatcher give a presentation to a group of dairymen about utilizing OvSynch on dairy farms in CA. Following the presentation, many questions were asked about ways to manipulate the program to fit the dairy without regard to the biology of the cow. Essentially, the dairymen wanted to know how we can make the program fit their schedule. Most of the current synchronization programs are all heavily researched and based on sound scientific evidence. In most cases, the timing of injections and procedures are based on the physiology of how the cow will respond and deviation from these guidelines does not fit into how the cow works.
As many can relate, cows are relentless bosses with no concern for holidays, weekends, soccer games, dance recitals, etc. With this in mind, as we approach this year’s breeding season or next week’s preg check, understand the programs were designed for the cow and will provide an opportunity for improvement only if we adhere to the foundations they are based on. When it comes to reproductive success, failure is not an option for us or the cow.