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Block Calving Fertility Management


The top 5% of block calving herds will calve >90% of their milking herd in 6 weeks, compared to 70% for the average farm – this difference in performance is worth around £150/cow/year. Success takes planning and action, which we are experienced in helping our farmers achieve each season.


Whether spring or autumn calving, the key date in the year is the “planned start of mating”, and much of the rest of the year can be planned relative to this. Each season, a month or so before the planned start of mating, a planning meeting helps ensure success – clean checks a month before the PSM help ensure cows with uterine disease are treated early, giving them time to heal before mating.


Around 10 days before the planned start of mating we examine any cows not showing signs of heat, and intervene as appropriate. This is repeated every 2-3 weeks through the breeding season (typically 12 weeks).

Bulls should be fertility tested a month or so before use, and we can do this at one of the same visits.


Pregnancy scanning and reviewing the results is the next opportunity for a management meeting – and typically falls a couple of months before drying off. Plans for drying off, sampling and decisions on dry cow therapy, feeding management to maintain correct body condition and review of young stock performance and worming can all be covered now.


During the dry period, “pre-calving” body condition can be assessed again, and blood samples taken to check the cow’s metabolic status. Final ration adjustments and mitigation of any anticipated challenges can be made on solid evidence in time for calving.

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