Ways to Improve Conception Rates in the Cow Herd

Profit in the cow herd starts with reproductive success. If your cows don’t get bred, you’re not going to have calves to market. And feeding an open cow is just not much fun. However, reproductive success is not guaranteed. Several factors go into getting cows bred and keeping them bred. One of those factors is a sound nutrition program.

In a recent reproductive success study released, conception rates improved significantly when cattle producers fed VitaFerm® Concept•Aid® prior to and during breeding. In the nearly 5,000 females that data was collected on in the study, conception rates on the cows fed Concept•Aid posted at 94% – nearly 3% higher than the national average. One Texas ranch says their conception rates on their fall-calving herd jumped 5-7% after they made the switch to Concept•Aid.

Jeff Chaffin, manager at W4 Ranch at Morgan, Texas, said when they preg checked the group of fall-calving cows that are currently calving, their percentage of opens on roughly 300 cows dropped from 12-15% to 7.2% – or a gain of 19 more bred females. He said they saw similar results on the females they sold in their October production sale – with only 7% of them open.

With 1,000 registered Hereford cows and a ranch that spans 12,000 acres, W4 primarily uses natural service on the cow herd. Chaffin said since he assumed a management role on the ranch two years ago, he has prioritized increasing overall conception rates. Once that goal is accomplished he will introduce more A.I. to the herd. And with the conversion to Concept•Aid, those rates have improved.

“We are making no changes to our mineral program at this time,” Chaffin said. “We are 100-percent satisfied with the VitaFerm products, and Concept•Aid has definitely paid for itself.”

While W4 is just one of many stories of positive change for producers who use Concept•Aid, the reproductive success study gathered data from 16 producers in nine states, representing five different breeds. Conception rates, calving rates and weaning weights of those calves whose mothers were on Concept•Aid were compared with the national average, taken from four external sources including Texas cow-calf SPA, Oklahoma cow-calf SPA, Northern Great Plains SPA and CHAPS. Not only were the averages higher nationally for females on Concept•Aid, but state and regional results also posted higher. For example, the Texas cow-calf standardized performance analysis (SPA) data reports a pregnancy rate of 88.8%, but of the 1,700 cows bred in Texas and reported to the Concept•Aid database, the pregnancy rate is 96.2%. Similarly, in Oklahoma the SPA data reported an average pregnancy rate of 89.4%. The average pregnancy rate of cows in Oklahoma in the Concept•Aid database is 93.8%. These statistics further demonstrate enhanced reproductive success using Concept•Aid with Amaferm® in purebred and commercial cow-calf operations.

“Amaferm helps them to better digest and absorb the nutrients they are already getting, and helps with intake,” said Dr. Lynsey Whitacre, Business Development and Field Support for BioZyme® Inc. “The idea behind Concept•Aid is to provide really high-quality vitamins and minerals used in breeding, so it helps supplement what they are getting from the pasture or whatever their feed source is.”

For a producer like W4, getting 19 more cows bred, means the potential for 19 more calves. The study also indicated that cows on Concept•Aid also weaned off a heavier calf – on average 590.9 pounds, compared to the national average of just 531.7 pounds. If a producer has 19 more calves that wean off 59.2 pounds more per calf, and they sell their calves at weaning for an average of $1.55 per pound, that is an added $1,743.44. But, for seedstock producers like W4 that market their bulls and females for breeding purposes, 19 more calves are even more valuable.

In addition to the Amaferm advantage, Concept•Aid offers proteinated trace minerals (Copper, Zinc, and Manganese), that play a critical role in reproduction. These are the most stable, bioavailable organic trace minerals on the market. Concept•Aid is also high in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that plays an essential role for general cell wall integrity and muscle repair, and is proven to be helpful in short-term periods of stress. Calving is a stress that requires repair of the reproductive track. Furthermore, Concept•Aid is available in different Phosphorus levels that will complement various grains, by-products, or stored forages you may be feeding.

To learn more about the Reproductive Success Study or to submit your data to the ongoing research, visit https://vitaferm.com/reproductive-success-report.

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