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ADHIS Update: Dairy cow fertility trends improve

After 20 years of declining dairy cow fertility, the genetic trend has turned around and improved every year since 2011. It is now about 5% higher than
cows born in 2011, and similar to cows born in 1996.

This finding and others are reported in the latest Herd Improvement Report, published recently by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS)
and the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA).

Michelle Axford from ADHIS said this was an example of the gains that can be made through increased emphasis of fertility in Australian selection indices,
particularly in the Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and Health Weighted Index (HWI).
“We can expect further gains as the focus on fertility in the indices has increased further in the past couple of years,” she said.
“We are now seeing the direct benefits on farm. Cows with higher daughter fertility ABVs get back in calf sooner – that is they have higher 6-week in calf
rates.”
Michelle said the simplest way to improve the genetics of herds for fertility was to choose bulls from the Good Bulls Guide or app with a high Daughter
Fertility ABV (>104). She said recent research had given dairy farmers more choice for bulls with better fertility ABVs and more confidence in those
bulls.
“The reliability of the Daughter Fertility ABV has improved significantly and there are more bulls with much higher Daughter Fertility ABVs to choose from.
This is the outcome of collaborative work between ADHIS and the Dairy Futures CRC,” she said.
To find out more about the changing dynamics of Australian dairy herds, download the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Report 2015 from www.adhis.com.au.
For more information contact Michelle Axford at ADHIS, ph (03) 8621 4240 or maxford@adhis.com.au.

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