How to analyse your breeding success in DelPro™ FarmManager

PART 2 - CONCEPTION RATE

Reproductive performance is crucial for a dairy farm’s profitability and therefore an area you as dairy farmer, veterinarian or advisor are constantly monitoring. We present key performance indicators (KPIs) in DelPro FarmManager in order to monitor your farm’s reproduction performance.

Our ultimate goal is to organize the breeding data for you to take reproduction management decisions based on reliable KPIs, and troubleshoot potential breeding success factors that can improve the efficiency of cows becoming pregnant. Within the menu Animal/ Herd Statistics/ Breeding Summary views, we present calculations of insemination and pregnancy rates (efficiency), and conception rate by different breeding factors (breeding success). In this, part 2, we focus on the analyses of conception rates.

DelPro FarmManager breeding summary

Conception rate

The evaluations represented in the Breeding Summary, focus on the success of different insemination factors and are generally known as Conception Rate (CR%), or services per conception. In these specific cases, the analyses presents cows (lactation 1 and greater), and heifers (lactation 0) as separate groups, depending on your selected view. The success of an insemination depends on multiple factors; and is often a result of a combination of those factors. In DelPro FarmManager we present the most common factors affecting the insemination success.

For a selected date range, DelPro FarmManager will consider the number of animals bred (Total Count Column from the table), the number of pregnancies (Pregnant Count), the number of confirmed failures (Open Count), and the number of inseminations without a known result (Other Count) to calculate the CR%. The CR% formula includes the count of pregnancies achieved; and this is divided by the total number of inseminations reported for the period, minus the other count. Moreover, there is a column showing the number of pregnant cows in each row that later aborted (Abort Count). 

The table also shows the Total (%), in the previous to last column, which represent the proportion of total inseminations represented by each factor row. The last column in the table, shows the service per conception.

The success rate, evaluates the success of a cow becoming pregnant. There are five factors that DelPro FarmManager assess, and you can use to troubleshoot, the CR%.

DelPro FarmManager Conception Rate (%)

Conception rate by heat interval

Here only cows with two or more inseminations will be listed. Cows will be sorted depending on the duration of the interval between the latest and the previous insemination. The intervals are 5 to 17 days from the previous insemination; 18-25 days, 26-35 days, 36-60 days, and the final row is for the total. It is expected to find the majority of the cows, and the highest success, in the range of a normal cycle lengths (18-25d). However, some TAI management may drive results to different intervals. If no TAI is used, then longer intervals are a concern as they may represent missing heats or abnormal cycles due to early embryonic deaths; especially if the CR% is also low. Short intervals should not be highly represented either, because often their success rate is low, and can be an indicator of heat detection inaccuracy. The table is divided between lactation 1 cows and lactation 2+ cows.

Conception rate by heat sign

This calculation will use the “user defined” breeding reasons as troubleshooting factors. Hence, it is highly recommended to populate DelPro FarmManager with meaningful breeding reasons. The menu Tools/Customize/Lookup Items/Heat Detection Types lets you define your own reasons to inseminate. Avoid having too many reasons (detailed definitions), because the sample size of each individual factor may become too small. You cannot make any meaningful conclusions with less than 50 inseminations. If no heat sign (reason) has been defined when recording a new insemination then it will be recorded as “others”. This is a good place to evaluate the result of different TAI protocols, but avoid using this code to represent other factor already included in DelPro FarmManager; such as breeder or sires success rates – just continue reading.

Conception rate by sire

The different sires being used and recorded in DelPro FarmManager will be used to sort this cow data. We recommend you to keep track of bull codes along with their names and to indicate if semen is sexed or not in the semen inventory. You can compare the result of individual bulls for a specific date range. Remember that some bulls in a long time period (years) were perhaps used in different seasons, which can mask the true bull fertility and that you want to compare similar and meaningful samples’ sizes. For example, if you have just changed to a new bull, make sure the bull reaches reasonable number of inseminations before comparing its fertility with the previously used ones. Also have in mind that different breeding reasons or heat signs and cow groups can mask the bull results, among others.

Conception rate by insemination number

It is well known that the chances of cows getting pregnant changes depending their lactation status, or days in milk. Here we show the results of the 1st insemination versus, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and the cumulative of 5th and greater inseminations. Depending of the reproductive program, dry cow and transition management, the first insemination can be the best, or the lowest CR%. It is important to understand when that first service is completed. Consider that the cows who reach 5+ inseminations have had a reason for being there, so don’t be too surprised if their results are poor.

Conception rate by breeder

The human factor and the insemination technique relates to the success rate. When comparing breeders, keep in mind that some of them may be relief breeders, therefore breeding less often. A breeder can also be linked to a specific breeding reason (only TAI), or are breeders helping on busy days or for specific group of cows (problem cows that the main breeder don’t want to breed anymore). So don’t be too hard on a breeder with poor results without first looking for obvious reasons why that might be.

Note: Analyses here described are base for DelPro FarmManager 5.5. As we continue to update our platform, some difference can be found from this information in older versions.

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