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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Standard operating procedures to get pregnant cows

Dairy Pipeline: August 2004

Ray L. Nebel
Dairy Extension Coordinator and Reproductive
Management Scientist
(540) 231-4432 email:

What is your plan of attack to get cows pregnant in a timely manner? Similar to all other tasks that take place, management must set procedures that will efficiently get cows with calf. The reproductive cycle starts with an excellent transition period that ensures that cows will move from the dry lot to the milking herd without the occurrence of a postpartum disorder, minimize body condition loss, and allow cycling to occur by 30 days in milk. Synchronization programs such as Presynch or Ovsynch are designed to mandate that every cow receive her 1st breeding within a prescribed window, usually 70 to 80 days in milk. Next - a program to identify open cows that did not conceive at 1st breeding is vital. A heat detection program that includes the use of a heat expectancy calendar of cows bred three weeks prior is essential to identify open cows. Bimonthly rectal exams to identify open cows that were not detected in heat is the next component of the program. When open cows are identified, the program now must dictate what should be done to allow inseminations. Additionally, a vaccination program that protects against the most common occurring diseases and a mastitis control program to minimize the incidence of infection are both essential components of the total program. Standard operating procedures to obtain pregnant cows is an important component of the reproductive management program

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