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Reproductive management practices on dairy farms
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Subtitle:the Canadian National Dairy Study 2015
The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to characterize reproductive management practices on Canadian dairy farms and describe differences based on regional and demographic factors. A questionnaire was offered to all licensed Canadian dairy producers and included 189 questions regarding producer and farm background information, herd dynamics, biosecurity, disease prevalence, calf health, animal welfare, milking practices, reproduction, and internet use. Twenty-four questions were related to estrus detection, hormonal protocols for reproduction, insemination, and pregnancy diagnosis. A total of 1,373 producers responded to the survey, representing a response rate of 12.5%. Estrus detection practices in lactating cows were associated with herd size, barn type, region, organic production, breeding method, and age of respondent. The most commonly used estrus-detection method in cows was visual (51.0% of farms for first insemination; 45.5% for subsequent inseminations). Estrus detection for nulliparous heifers was associated with herd size, barn type, region, and breeding method, with visual detection also the mast common method for heifers (71.3% of farms). Eighty percent of farms used strictly artificial insemination, 2.8% used natural service only, and 16.8% used a combination of artificial insemination and natural service. Breeding method was associated with herd size, barn type, region, and education level of the respondent. Pregnancy diagnosis method was associated with herd size, barn type, region, and organic production. Ultrasound was the most commonly used method of pregnancy diagnosis (used by 52.2% of farms). Sixty-nine percent of farms rechecked cows for pregnancy, and rectal palpation was the most commonly used method (employed by 48.7%). Reproductive management practices vary considerably among Canadian dairy farms and decisions are associated with farm-level factors, including region, herd size, and barn type, as well as producer-level factors, such as age, managerial role, and education level.
Journal: Journal of Dairy Science
Pages: 1822 - 1831