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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Pregnancy rate as the benchmark for evaluating reproductive performance.

Dairy Pipeline: May 2004

Raymond L. Nebel
Extension Dairy Scientist,
Reproductive Management
(540) 231-4432 email:

Reproductive performance is a function of certain management policies and how well these policies are implemented in the day-to-day management of the herd. It has long been known that there is an important economic advantage to be gained by efficient reproduction in dairy herds. Throughout her herd life, a cow should calve without difficulty, experience little or no postpartum reproductive disease, breed back within an optimal time period, carries each fetus to term, and have a live birth. The ability to use records effectively is one of the cornerstones of reproductive management. Complete and accurate herd records should provide the tools necessary to define past herd performance, assist in establishing goals for the benchmarks being evaluated, and allow monitoring to determine the impact of the plan developed to reach an established goal. The first step in record analysis is to identify key benchmarks that reflect components of reproductive performance that affect the desired outcome or goal. In fact, on many farms data overload is the problem where too much information is available and decisions must be made on what parameters are really important and useful.

Efficient reproductive performance is critical for maintenance of a fresh herd and higher daily milk yield. Pregnancy rate is now being reported on the DHI-202 Herd Summary Sheet and should be used as the benchmark to evaluate reproductive performance.

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