The main aim of breeding dairy cattle is producing offspring that will also be used mainly for dairy production purpose.
Raising dairy cattle for milk production requires close attention to bred them so that they produce the most milk possible.
Actually breeding dairy cattle will require some prior planning, close attention and observation and recordings of mating and regular recording of the daily milk production of all of the cows in the herd.
Breeding program for the dairy cattle is as important to the large commercial cattle farming company with many herds as the small scale individual farmer with a single herd with only a few animal.
In order to make milk, the cows need to produce calves. And in order to produce both milk and calves, the cows need to be bred timely.
In most dairy farms, the heifers are born and used to a dairy operation and they are used for replacing the old cows. On the other hand the males and old cows are generally used for beef production.
Breeding Dairy Cattle
Along with calve and milk production, another aim of breeding dairy cattle is also to improve the commercial production of the farm stock and genetic improvement.
First of all select the cow/cows that you want to be bred (these cows are generally called as the ‘foundation stock‘).
Then you have to determine the breeding method, either using a bull or by artificial insemination (AI). However, here we are describing more about the steps of breeding dairy cattle.
Select the Cow
First of all, select the cow that you want to breed. The cow which will be used for breeding purpose is called as foundation stock.
You must have to select good cows for having good quality calve with good features.
Actually all cows can produce some milk and the amount of milk may be enough for family consumption, but at the same time it can be too little to be worth collecting for sale.
So, breeding dairy cattle is important to increase milk production also.
You can use your existing cows for producing improved calves with good qualities. In such case you have to use bull of a good dairy cattle type for breeding dairy cattle.
Determine Breeding Method
You can either use a bull or use artificial insemination system for breeding dairy cattle.
Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to check the quality of the bull. Here we are describing more about both system for breeding dairy cattle.
Breeding through a Bull
Most of the bulls which are generally found on most of the small farms are not useful for upgrading your existing herd.
The most efficient and safest way to obtain a good breeding bull is to raise only one bull on your farm, or use a good dairy type bull from a respected breeding farm (such as private, church, school or government breeding farm).
In case of choosing bull if you can’t get a pure-bred, you can use one which has at least half dairy blood.
If you follow this, you can expect offspring of the bull will be superior in milk production.
Along with increased milk production, you can also expect increased carcass value of the new calves.
Follow the steps mentioned below for selecting and using a dairy breeding bull.
- Always try to select and find a good bull from a known source ((such as private, church, school or government breeding farm).
- Ensure that the bull is sound and it can serve properly.
- If you already have many bulls in your herd, then consider castrating all of them.
- Always try to avoid inbreeding (don’t allow your bulls to mate with his daughter). It is a good idea to replace the bull after three years for avoiding inbreeding.
- Prevent bulls coming into your farm from outside. And also prevent outside bulls mating with your cows.
Breeding by Artificial Insemination
Artificial insemination is a very good system for breeding dairy cattle. Artificial insemination is used at most dairy farms since the 1950s, and it can be a good choice for you if you don’t want to bear the extra expenses for raising breeding bulls.
And artificial insemination is good if your herd size is less than 5-6 cows. The dairy bulls can also be extremely dangerous and unpredictable, so keeping bulls for breeding purpose is not good always.
Follow the steps below for breed your dairy cows through artificial insemination system.
Find an Experienced Technician
You need to hire an expert artificial insemination technician to breed your cows.
You need to find an experienced technician, because the more experienced the technician is, the higher the success rate of your cows getting pregnant.
You will need to have a schedule for determining which cows need to be bred and when. For this purpose, a gestation table or pinwheel will be helpful.
The schedule should include the time when your cows need to be bred by when they go into estrus. Generally artificial insemination process is done 12 hours after the cows have showed the signs of estrus.
Breed the Cow
If everything seems perfect, your AI technician will do this part.
Monitor your cows regularly after successful breeding. You need to monitor if any of your cows go back into heat or not. You should record those that do go back into heat, and that have been bred and the projected time they will calve. May God bless you!