Reproduction Compliance Monitoring and Improvement

Reproduction Compliance Monitoring and Improvement

The dairy industry has made enormous strides in improving reproduction efficiencyResearch uncovering better use of pharmaceutical interventions, improved cow health and nutrition, improved genetics and sensor technologies have all made contributionsHerd Management Systems aid execution of processes and provide a tool to monitor change over timeEnsuring process compliance and employee training are keys to high efficiency reproduction outcomes. This article reviews process monitoring and improvements so that you may achieve consistent and high-efficiency reproductive outcomes. 


Monitoring General Reproduction Outcomes 

Two quick general overview reports providing picture of dairy reproduction are the Percent Pregnant & Open at 150 & 300 DOPNThis report provides percent pregnant before 150DIM and 300 DIMOverall, it is a quick look at how many cows are getting pregnant on time.  Breeding Intensity provides insight to insemination risk, conception risk, and pregnancy risk. If issues are identified, drilling into reproductive reporting with the Report Map can be helpful to understand what areas the issues may be coming from. Especially for acute issues, those reports can excel.    

Many of the reproduction performance issues we encounter today are process failuresThe following four sections focus on some of the common areas processes may fail: monitoring records of insemination; reproductive hormone compliance; pregnancy diagnosis; and use of automated activity monitoring systems (AAM). 


Monitoring Insemination 

Monitoring of insemination consists of making sure that semen is getting into the correct cows  -and is being recorded properly. When animals “slip through the cracks” for any reason they will gain excess days open. BoviSync has created features that automates and prevents this. 


Not recording inseminations results in cows that aren’t preg checked, and can occur from cows not being bred or failure to record the breedingBoviSync helps farms by doing entry cowside to avoid entry errorsHowever, if they do occur, ensure in your settings (Herd Settings) that you have these settings turned on: 



These will put the animals onto the herd check list automatically, so that if there is a missed entry, they can check the cow for breeding dates written on her and then be able to record the insemination.  If the animal was not bred, they now have the option to make a decision for ovsynch or some other action that is part of the farm SOP.  The “Repro check for eligible” option is to find any animals that are not in a TAI protocol and are open. Those animals will automatically be added to the herd check to be evaluated and started.  If a farm uses activity monitoring systems, they will likely want that option turned offSome farms opt to have animals automatically enroll into a synchronization program if they get into these situations, rather than look at the animal and decide what to do.  That can be done with a criteria enrollment for all open cows with no breeding chores added to the Ovsynch protocol. 


Evaluation by technician over a period of time can be done with conception rate by technician (Conception Rate by Technician Report).  Be careful to consider effects of TAI, lact, or other factors that influence who breeds what cowsTechnicians breeding in a first lact barn versus a mature barn will clearly have different results for the same technique.  To keep an eye on short-term changes, the non-return rate can be useful: Non-Return by Technician (35d PD) Report.  Here one can see how many cows have not been re-bred in the 21-35d window.  In this report, be careful with small numbers and the influence of what cows are being bred.   



Technicians make the decision not to breed or do an embryo implant on some cows for varying reasonsWhen they do this, they should record a “Service Rejection” event and select from the available reasons why they did not breed the animalIncluding Service Rejections into conception rate reports for TAI and/or embryos gives a clearer picture of what the chance that a technician creates a pregnancy when they walk up to the animalParticularly with embryos, technicians can be selective on what animals they inseminate to improve the conception rateHowever, a strict focus on only conception rate means that they reject more cows and create more days openLooking at both allows you to see the balance and coach the technicians for the best overall outcome, not just the best conception rate. 


Pregnancy Diagnosis 

A critical and often overlooked place for reproductive improvement is in the evaluation of the technicians doing pregnancy diagnosis, particularly with palpationA report of pregnancy confirmation rates and subsequent pregnancy loss rates can be seen in Abort Rate by Palpator Report.   


In this palpation pregnancy loss rate, we can see the % diagnosed pregnant and the % of subsequent loss by technician, week, and lactationWhen the report is opened, edit the start date to the number of days after your second pregnancy diagnosisMany of the pregnancy loss of found on that check, so you want to include it in the analysis.  In this report, we see that Juan has the lowest pregnancy diagnosis rate and the lowest pregnancy loss rates. This may be indicating that he is overly conservative on his pregnancy diagnosis and may be declaring open some cows that would be better for recheck or are pregnant. 

A particularly useful tool for evaluating a farm for the number of pregnancies and types of calves being made recently is the Rail Preg Percent Last 30 days Report.   


In this report we are seeing that animals that are being preg checked for the first time are being found pregnant at a rate of 71-78%This is much higher than the conception rate, because many animals are coming into heat and being rebred before they make it to preg checkA high percentage of animals being found pregnant at first check indicates good estrus detection is occurring at the farmIn the Preg column, we can see how many animals are becoming pregnant each week, and in the DHFR (Dairy Heifer %) column we can see how many dairy replacements are being created. In this figure above, it is heavily skewed to beef calf production (107 heifers out of 872 total pregnancies). 


Reproduction Hormone Compliance 

The use of reproductive hormone usage to improve fertility is widespread, and its efficacious use requires exacting procedures and complianceReporting in BoviSync is essential to monitoring and identifying process breakdowns.  

Administration of reproductive hormones can be monitored via reports like: Treatment Administration ReportIn this report we can look at the order of treatment administration and then the pen order being givenThe amount of time in each pen (lock-up times) can be seen, as well as if there are multiple records in short time frames or that jump between pensUsing the quick filters for pens, dates, and technicians allows easy views into this type of data. 

Evaluation of specific shot sequences, timings, and who is doing the shots can be seen in reports like these: 

  1. Conception Rate by GNRH Hours by LaGr Report – Shows the impact on conception rate by the number of hours between TAI and the GnRH given before breeding, split by sexed or conventional semenGnRH Timing Compliance by Pen Report allows you to evaluate the time between TAI and GnRH by pen and weekThis can help you to identify opportunities to change the order of the pen’s GnRH administration to better match the breeding pen orderAdditionally, you may find certain weeks have greater variability that relate to labor and personal needs that they are being given too early.  Greater detail can be found here:  GnRH Administration Impacts and Monitoring 

  1. Conception Rate by Compliance Report allows you to see the impact of missed repro shots on conception rateUse this report to find both the rates of missed shots and see what that impact is on conception rates. Greater detail can be found here: Reproductive Hormone Compliance 

  1. Conception Rate by PGF3 Technician Report shows the conception rate, based on the technician of the PGF given three days prior to TAIIssues can range from animals being skipped, to improper administration site/proceduresIn the figure below, we can see that inseminations tends to have higher conception rates when he is the technician of the PGF given three days before administration. 

The combination of many of these reports by technician allow you to be a better manager by identifying training opportunities for employeesBy showing employees how their compliance impacts conceptions rates and the health and welfare of the animals, they want to do betterThe ability to see feigned actions creates the dis-incentive for employees to pretend the work was doneWhen an action wasn’t completed, let's not pretend it wasWe can use that to potentially change what we do with the animal. 


Automation and Decision Making on Missed Repro Shot Animals 

On large dairies there is no getting every animal, and on most dairies, it doesn’t make sense to chase all the animals around trying to find oneJust let them lie and ruminateBut what do you do when animals are missed?  In BoviSync we have developed many solutions that can solve this for your dairy. 

When using sort gates on a daily basis, sorts to resort animals missed the previous day can be setupThe missing of certain repro shots can automatically trigger the animal restart Ovsynch or go onto a herd check list to be evaluated. 

When a GnRH that is the first part of a resynch and given before herd check is missed, the normal procedure is to have the Missed Last Week protocol setup in BoviSyncThis alerts the preg checker that GnRH was not administered last week, and we are going to start a new Ovsynch, not complete the ones started last week. 

Because every action is recorded in BoviSync, you can customize what you want to have happen for all your exceptions that occur.  Automating these exceptions can both improve the performance of the dairy and reduce labor in trying to handle them one-off on a regular basis. 


Automated Activity Monitoring Systems 

The integration of activity systems can create additional opportunities for process automation and compliance.   

Bretzinger, et al. 2023 - Journal of Dairy Science found that cows that did not have a heat detected by an AAM from 7d to 60d postpartum had inferior reproductive performance.  Using the heat data in BoviSync you can setup SOPs for cows that have not come into heat by 60 DIM (or your farm’s threshold)Then at a certain DIM those animals can be automatically enrolled in Ovsync protocols or herd checks.   

Some activity systems can export custom action lists that when imported into BoviSync can make work lists and send directions to sort gates to implement your strategy. The automation strategies are endless; if the data flows into BoviSync, you can make a report based on it and schedule actions to occur.  Furthermore, you can report on it to determine the effect on both the animals and the people. 

Some activity systems send an estimated ovulation time into BoviSyncYou can use that to choose to breed the cow today or tomorrow.  For instance cow 128846  

Which had a heat come in this morning, has an estimated ovulation time of 9am tomorrow and a Peak of 100After evaluating conception rates by estimated time of breeding, you may decide it makes sense to wait for this cow until tomorrow to breed. 



BoviSync has built a comprehensive suite of tools for the automation of process, the monitoring of process, and the evaluation of both process and outcomesUtilization of these tools can improve the management and outcomes of reproduction on dairies. 


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