Achieving a 25% pregnancy rate

Alan MacCombe, his daughter, Maureen Keys and Richard Walker, Genus ABS are pictured with some of the herd replacements. Photograph - McAuley Multimedia.
Alan MacCombe, his daughter, Maureen Keys and Richard Walker, Genus ABS are pictured with some of the herd replacements. Photograph - McAuley Multimedia.

A partner for your dairy herd which will help achieve a yield of 9000 litres at 4.3 butterfat and 3.4 protein plus an impressive 25% pregnancy rate would be a very welcome addition to the farm in these uncertain times.

Four years ago the MacCombe family farm found such a partner in Genus ABS and in that relatively short period of time have achieved these results.

Richard Walker who provides the consultancy for the partnership reports: “Alan MacCombe and his daughter Maureen Keys run a 220 cow herd at Claudy. Herd fertility performance currently is sitting at an impressive 25% pregnancy rate. This has risen over 7% points since the beginning of the Genus partnership. With each pregnancy rate point worth £20 this equates to £140 more profit per cow per year or £28,000 over the whole herd. This is a fantastic result as the current national average is 13%. Since the introduction of Sexcel semen onto the farm two years ago conception rates have steadily improved and currently sit at 47 % on cows and 60% on heifers.”

Alan MacCombe explains: “We wanted to improve milk yield, fertility and reduce cow size but we did not want to do this at the expense of herd health, milk quality and lifespan. We also wanted to have a detailed management program so that we could assess progress and make relevant changes. In short, we were very specific in what we wanted to achieve and after much research we were convinced Genus ABS were the only company that could help us achieve our goals since they offer a suite of solutions that the customer can choose from and provide the consultancy to help make it happen.”

Alan and Maureen have seen on farm results improve year on year from the start of their agreement. Richard Walker outlined the current situation.

“The herd currently runs a tight Autumn calving block with only Sexcel semen and proven ABS Angus semen used on the herd. There are 150 animals due to calve in the first three months of the calving season with all Holstein replacements due to be born in this period. 97 cows have calved since the 1st of August providing 67 Holstein heifers, five Holstein bulls and the remainder are Angus.

“The MacCombes are using genomic testing, GMS and Sexcel to select and breed only the highest genetic merit animals within the herd to Sexcel Holstein to make the maximum genetic gain. This along with the highest available Sexcel PLI bulls has seen rapid genetic gain within the herd. The team of bulls selected to use on the herd this year will average over £830 PLI points.”

Alan added: “Since partnering with Genus ABS and from listening to the advice from Richard I have seen a dramatic change in the animals we have currently being born and entering the herd, I now am getting the type of cows I want and asked for.”

As part of the ABS Partner program Genus ABS also help Maureen manage the day to day fertility data on the farm using DC305 software. This includes providing Maureen with all management lists including dry off, due to calve, due to scan, cows not bred and provides Maureen with a fertility report to monitor how the herd is performing and where changes can be made to improve herd performance.

Maureen commented: “I find the help from Genus on the fertility management invaluable and the advice I receive from them on where we can improve is a great asset to our business, its always beneficial to have a second pair of eyes keeping an eye on things on a busy dairy farm.”