Lame cows are less fertile because –
- They are leaner and
- Are likely to be losing more weight/gaining less condition than the rest of the herd. They will also be reluctant to stand for the bull due to the weight he puts on their feet and
- The pain of being lame significantly reduces conception rates even if the cow is served.
Attending to lame cows before mating starts will significantly improve their fertility. Having cows holding to the bull 3 weeks earlier than otherwise is currently worth around an extra £30 per cow in terms of the extra weight of calf weaned.
Attending to lame cows now, before they are very heavily pregnant, will –
- Reduce their bodyweight loss for the rest of the winter, which could be particularly critical this year with cows being housed leaner than normal and the feed problems most of us are facing this winter.
- Calving in better condition cows will produce a more viable calf, more and better quality colostrum and be quicker up on their feet to let the calf suckle.
- Being fitter at turnout and gaining weight more rapidly from grazing better being sound on their feet will also have a major benefit on their fertility next summer.
Basil Lowman, email@example.com
Sign up to the FAS newsletter
Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service