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dairy cattle walking in a row


Fertility Solutions by Zoetis combines Zoetis’ outstanding ruminant technical support with a product range consisting of the market leading progesterone device CIDR®, the GnRH Acegon®, and prostaglandins Prellim® and Lutalyse®.


It’s time to take back greater control of your herd’s fertility

The decline in fertility in UK dairy herds has been evident for some years with fewer cows seen in heat, becoming pregnant and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Investing in your herd’s fertility has multiple benefits:

  • Increased pregnancy rate.

  • Increased productivity.

  • More free time to concentrate on other tasks.

To secure the future of your farm, improving your margin is going to remain a top priority.

Taking control of the cow’s oestrus cycle provides many advantages:

  • Oestrus detection is targeted or eliminated.

  • Handling of animals in batches allows easier AI, pregnancy testing and observation around calving.

  • Access to sires (including sexed semen) with maternal traits suitable for producing homebred dairy heifer replacements of improved genetic merit.

  • Increased milk production by increasing the number of productive days in early lactation.


factors to consider for optimum fertility

1. Maintaining herd health

• Parasite control should be planned ahead of time to ensure burdens of stomach worm, lungworm or fluke are not present.

• Control of infectious diseases such as BVDv, IBR and Leptospira Hardjo is critical to ensure good AI results.

2. Suitable handling facilities

• Handling facilities are essential as cattle will need to be gathered on several occasions during the programme and for AI. Ideally the crush should be covered, as synchronising a large batch of heifers/cows in heavy rain/snow is not ideal!

3. Managing energy balance in transition cows

• Body Condition Scoring (BCS) is an important tool for dairy farmers to help them optimise health, welfare and fertility, while minimising calving difficulties and production costs.

• Target BCS for dairy cattle at drying off is 2.75-3; at calving 3.0-3.25 and at breeding 2.75 minimum. Cows with lower BCS at breeding have reduced fertility. BCS loss between calving and breeding must be maintained to less than 0.5 units¹.

4. Trace elements

• Trace element supplementation such as copper, selenium and iodine, if required should be administered in advance of breeding.

5. Managing replacement heifers

• Sexual maturity in heifers is related to weight rather than age. In order to achieve first calving at 24 months, management practices should ensure that heifers are of adequate size (55-60% of mature weight) and breeding starts at 13.5 months. Heifers will need to grow at an average liveweight gain of 0.85kg/day from birth to hit target weights for mating².


main trends in dairy fertility that have the highest impact on overall performance:

  1. Fewer cows are seen in heat when they should be (45-60 DIM).
    Solution: maximise submission rates.

  2. Fewer cows are detected pregnant after service.
    Solution: improve pregnancy rates.


As the challenges associated with decreased fertility become apparent, there is increasing need for prompt and effective action to overcome the problems. The fertility product portfolio from Zoetis offers a combination of products to provide control of the cows’ oestrus cycle, treatment regimes for ovarian and uterine disease and flexible breeding protocols for both cycling and non-cycling cows and heifers.


1. Finbar J. Mulligan (2012) A herd health approach to dairy cow nutrition and production diseases of the transition cows and early lactation dairy cow. Keynote Lecture, XXVII World Buiatrics Congress, Lisbon
2. dairy.ahdb.org.uk 


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