• Post category:News

The last thing farmers need is difficult calvings! Therefore if we want accurate calving figures, it’s vital that farmers record this piece of data, and record it accurately.

The calving ease trait is calculated predominantly from calving surveys completed by the herd-owner. Even the genomic calving ease factor is derived from phenotypic data (herd-owner calving surveys). This is why it’s important that everyone record this data so that we can all contribute to the continued genetic gain.

Remember if you need use a calving jack, record considerable difficulty (which is a 3 in the animal events book). Pulling a calf with the ropes by hand would be classed as some assistance (or a 2 in the animal events book).

Dairy animals

Year Month No survey (%) Survey (%)
2016 January 34.71 65.29
2017 January (to date) 42.83 57.17

Beef animals

Year Month No survey (%) Survey (%)
2016 January 29.55 70.45
2017 January(to date) 29.78 70.22

Year on year figures show that calving survey recording is down overall for January 2017 when compared to January 2016. There is a 8.12% drop in Dairy calving surveys being recorded in January 2017 compared to the same period in 2016. There are currently 43% of dairy herds and 30% of beef herds not recording calving surveys. We would strongly recommend that every herd-owner record calving surveys.

Why Should I record Calving Surveys?

  • I want to use the easiest calving sires and have a high level of confidence in their figures.  A bull, (even an AI bull) will start out with a calving difficulty reliability figure of around < 35%. The main aspect contributing to the increase in reliability of this figure is herd-owner calving surveys, therefore it is essential that everyone record calving surveys in order to increase the reliability of the calving ease trait as quickly as possible.
  • Advantage to the herd-owner? Increase in the reliability of the calving ease trait quicker in a bull’s lifetime. This means that herd-owners can use the easiest calved sires earlier and in turn speed up genetic gain as younger bulls on average have a higher index.
  • Less Mortality and Veterinary Assistance. More calving surveys means that reliability on the calving ease trait will be higher as a result. This will allow herd owners to make more informed decisions when selecting bulls. Easy calving bulls with high reliability are less likely to have calving issues.