Turbo mating plan

Greg Lindsay Turbo mating plan

The 10-day Turbo Plan is a novel take on mating that started, somewhat as an experiment, after I began to question the traditional mating template. The traditional mating I refer to is the standard AI period of 4-5 weeks followed by bulls. You might say ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ but in some situations it is. Mating falls at one of, if not the busiest and most important times of year on dairy farms and time is always in short supply. And yet, we commit farm teams to 5+ weeks of heat detection, AI and all that comes with it placing immense pressure on key people. Why do we do this? To ensure that the farm gets adequate numbers of replacement calves.

Considering this, we tried to develop a concept mating built around as short a period of AI as possible while optimising replacement numbers. To get adequate replacement calves (~20%) we needed 80-90% of the herd mated to AI. By combining the ‘Why Wait’ Programme (cycling cows) with a single round of Prosynch Plus Treatments (non-cycling cows) theoretically every cow is mated at least once to AI, and it's all done and dusted in 7-10 days. Not all cows respond to the Why Wait and some will always be omitted from AI, so the numbers are never a perfect 100% but well within the 80-90% range which means that roughly half of the herd is in-calf within 10 days.

Some of the benefits:

  • Controlled, predictable mating
  • Short AB period – natural heat detection earlier
  • Reduced reliance on key staff for AB
  • Fast, efficient start to calving (like pulling off a band-aid)
  • Easier transition mob management at calving
  • Supply milk quicker at the start of season
  • Same/fewer bulls required
  • Fewer bobby calves – dairy beef calves earlier
  • Compact line of replacement calves – easier management and more consistent weights
  • Fewer health issues with replacements (all in-all out)
  • Reduced empty rates (maximising the number of matings).

This approach gives you a lot of control over the mating period and results can be accurately forecast. We have run this on two farms for consecutive years now with results below:

These farms have continued to perform at a very high level over the past two seasons using the 10-day approach making gains in both calving pattern and empty rate. This approach will not be for everyone and does require some upfront cost, however, we have found the time savings, in-calf results, and subsequent improvements to overall farm management very agreeable. If the concepts in this article have started the sparks flying feel free to get in touch to discuss or talk to your local veterinarian. The farms referenced in this article would be very happy to share their experiences and we can put you in touch.

Dr Greg Lindsay BVSc Farm Vet & Regional Manager, Kopu

Turbo mating plan results


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