Tighter calving window drives up births to dairy dams

Thursday, 7 November 2019

By Felicity Rusk

The latest data shows:

  • Q3 overall is ↑4% on the year
  • Births to a dairy dam in September were ↑ 3% on the year
  • Cows in good physical condition when served

During the third quarter of this year, births to a dairy dam totalled 402,300 head, according to the latest data from BCMS. This is 1,600 head more (0.4%) than in the same period in the previous year.

The majority of the uplift comes from September only, with births to a dairy dam reaching 149,100 head, 3% higher than both the same month in the previous year and the five-year average. 

Cows were likely to have been in good condition when they were served. The elevated plane of feeding and the mild winter would have supported fertility. Plentiful grass growth throughout spring and summer would have also kept condition throughout the gestation period.

Interestingly, there was a similar uplift in calvings in March. The increase in spring and autumn births could be a sign of a move away from all year round systems to a block calving system. Additionally, it may also be a sign that block herds are tightening their calving window. 

Felicity Rusk

Analyst - Dairy & Livestock

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