There are a number of resources available which have been produced as part of Dairy Australia's InCalf program to help dairy farmers looking to improve their herd's fertility.
InCalf book 2nd edition
The InCalf Book 2nd edition can be downloaded below, or a physical copy can be ordered online here.
InCalf fertility case studies
In these case studies, successful dairy farmers from different regions of Australia demonstrate the importance of herd reproduction to their business and share their approaches to herd fertility management.
Maintaining a tight calving pattern without routine inductions
Stuart Burr sharefarms for Geoff and Stan Cox at Ringarooma in north-eastern Tasmania.
Stuart began sharefarming in 2008–09, and has been motivated to increase his wealth by growing his asset base through good reproductive performance of his stock.
Read the case study to find out why Stuart believes his business is more profitable without calving induction.
Maintaining a tight calving pattern without routine inductions
Tony Clarke is a part owner and manager of Whitewater Dairy at Edith Creek in north-western Tasmania. Although he lives 2.5 hours away from the farm, he is closely involved with its operation, visiting at least once per week.
Whitewater Dairy was purchased in 2011. The business milks 1,000 cows on a milking platform of 310 hectares.
Read the case study to learn why Tony thinks stopping calving inductions will not make a difference financially.
Managing individual cows in year-round calving herds
Craig and Phil Tate operate a large dairy herd on the Illawarra coastal belt in New South Wales.
The warm winters and even annual rainfall pattern allows reliable pasture growth throughout the year, which suits their flat milk contract.
Read the case study to learn how the Tates' focus on systems, processes and accurate records mean that every cow can be managed individually to maximise her performance.
Managing automated heat detection under different calving systems
Heat detection is an important driver of reproductive performance when using artificial insemination to join cows. For any calving system, be it seasonal, split or year-round, heat detection is a critical task during the AI period.
Read the case study to learn more about how two dairy farms in Victoria's Gippsland and the NSW North Coast are using automated heat detection.
Managing a three-way crossbreeding strategy in a large herd
Ruth and Neville Kydd have a three-way crossbreeding dairy herd at Finley, NSW. In an area where feedpads are common, the Kydds use a pasture-based feeding system where all silage is fed in the paddock.
They milk 1,300 cows on an effective milking area of approximately 430 hectares.
Read the case study to learn why the Kydds moved to a crossbred herd and the benefits they are seeing.
These case studies can be downloaded below, or the InCalf farm case studies booklet can be ordered online here.
Fertility learning programs
The InCalf program runs a number of courses, workshops and discussion groups to assist farmers with improving the fertility of their herd. These are all run through Dairy Australia's regional teams. More information on learning programs being run in each dairy region is available from the regional teams.
Courses, workshops and discussion groups
The Heat Detective discussion module
Heat detection can make a huge impact on a herd’s reproductive performance.
This workshop will demonstrate the correct way to use heat detection aids, timing of insemination for better herd reproduction, and assessing heat detection efficiency. Contact your local regional team to register.
Heifers on Target
The way a cow looks is only part of the story of their health. These workshops teach attendees about growth targets to set and achieve for heifers to reach their potential and the feed guidelines necessary to meet these rates.
Discussion groups provide the opportunity for farmers to meet and learn how other farmers monitor and achieve optimal heifer growth rates. Contact your local regional team to register.
Low Stress Calving discussion module
Calving can change every aspect of a heifer’s biology. This module covers effective transition nutrition to minimise the stress and impact on their health and how to minimise the risk of infection and milk fever. This is an essential component of any dairy farm with a reproduction program. Contact your local regional team to register.
Transition Cow Management workshop
A good transition diet is essential to lessen the possibility of health problems around the time of calving. This one-day workshop covers best practices of lead feeding and how to improve the herd feeding regime for a better return on investment. For example, a transition feeding program costs between $20 to $60 per cow but returns up to $200 per cow.
During the day, participants will learn why lead feeding works and what needs to be considered when improving their lead feeding regime. Contact your local regional team to register.
InCharge fertility course
This five-day series hosted on-farm will take participants through everything which needs to be considered to build an effective herd reproductive management plan and improve the farm’s fertility.
The InCharge fertility course is for dairy owners, sharefarmers, managers and service providers. It runs over a five-week period with participants meeting one day per week. It involves two days of on-farm discussion group learning and three days of classroom learning.
- Day 1, on-farm: This day demonstrates the impact reproductive performance has on the operation of a farm. Participants look how reproduction performance can be used to exploit the natural characteristics of a farm and consider how manipulation of reproductive performance can assist in achieving farmers goals.
- Day 2, classroom: Participants look at how submission rates, heat detection, conception rates and calving pattern affect herd reproductive performance.
- Day 3, classroom: Synchrony programs, bull fertility, replacement heifers and cow health are topics addressed on this day.
- Day 4, classroom: This day is devoted to transition cow management.
- Day 5, on-farm: On this day, participants put the knowledge that they have learnt through the course into practice. They analyse the farm's past reproductive performance and look for opportunities for improvement. Genetics and body condition scoring are also covered on this day
Contact your local regional team to register.
Healthy calves farmer workshop
This workshop equips participants with practical skills such as how to reduce antimicrobial residues and much more. By the end of the workshop, participants will know exactly what it takes to rear calves which become healthy cows. Contact your local regional team to register.
ReproRight Advanced InCalf advisor program
A course for advisers that will provide the necessary skills, knowledge and resources to work with farmers to improve their reproductive performance. More infroamtion regarding courses and registration is available from Dairy Australia's regional teams or on the Find a Herd Advisor page.
A number of webinars covering various topics have been held as part of the InCalf program. They can be accessed via the links below or via the YouTube playlist.