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An Integrated Approach to Improving Dairy Cow Fertility

Title An Integrated Approach to Improving Dairy Cow Fertility
Team Cabrera, V.E., Fricke, P., Ruegg, P., Shaver, R., Weigel, M., Wiltbank, M.
Term 48 months January 2010 - January 2014
Amount $1,000,000
Sponsor Integrated Solutions for Animal Agriculture
Agriculture Food and Research Initiative
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Weblink : http://fyi.uwex.edu/repromoney/

Overview

The overall objective of this integrated project is to improve the reproductive efficiency of lactating dairy cows using an interdisciplinary extension and research team that will identify and remove barriers to reproductive success and link outcomes of basic and applied research with an innovative extension delivery program. Results from this integrated research and extension proposal will lead to novel approaches to optimize reproductive efficiency in lactating dairy cows, and these approaches will enhance the sustainability of dairy farms through integration into a novel extension educational program that will be developed in Wisconsin and subsequently transferred throughout the US via collaboration with eXtension. Our research and extension team is uniquely positioned to achieve the objectives described in this integrated proposal. The combination of internationally recognized, research-based state specialists, effective county-based extension agents, modern dairy research units, numerous and diverse commercial dairy operations, state-of-the-art laboratory and computational resources, and an established track record of effective, collaborative research and outreach activities within a single unit is remarkable in Wisconsin.

Objectives

Specific Aim 1. Characterize the contributions of specific management factors to the observed variation between commercial dairy farms in cow fertility.

Specific Aim 2. Determine the impact of specific nutritional components on reproductive performance of lactating dairy cows.

Specific Aim 3. Identify the impact of mastitis on fertility and pregnancy loss in lactating dairy cows.

Specific Aim 4. Evaluate the economic impact of reproductive management strategies on overall farm sustainability under a variety of management scenarios.

Specific Aim 5. Generate measurable improvement in the reproductive performance of dairy herds by developing and implementing an integrated team-based extension program that builds on existing professional relationships within the farm community.

Scope

The research and extension activities described in this integrated proposal revolve around the selection and recruitment of a cohort of 200 dairy farms throughout Wisconsin. Once selected, we will collect on-farm data that will allow us to fully characterize various aspects of reproductive management and performance on these farms during the first year of the proposal. These data will then be used as benchmarks for reproductive performance, as well as a source of data to be analyzed experimentally in Specific Aims 1-4. In addition, these 200 farms will form the basis for our extension Reproductive Management Teams (RMT), which will be formed to improve reproductive performance on these farms as described in Specific Aim 5.

Investigators

Calendar

PD/PIs/Specific Aim/Outputs

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Weigel, Cabrera
1. On-farm reproductive efficiency
Association of reproductive efficiency and herd management


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Shaver, Wiltbank
2. Nutrition impact on reproduction
Circulating insulin and starch diet composition on reproductive efficiency


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Ruegg, Fricke
3. Mastitis impact on reproduction
Fertility inefficiency because specific mastitis pathogens


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Cabrera, Weigel
4. Economic reproductive impacts
Decision support systems



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Ruegg, Cabrera, Fricke, Shaver, Wiltbank
5. Team-based extension program
Effective dissemination to practitioners and enhancement of eXtension DAIReXNET CoP


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Tools

Simulates a dairy herd and their replacements for nine lactations: from the moment of the first calving to the ninth parturition

Online Tool (open)

Demo (Click to View/Hide the Video)

Link to the video.

The UWCU-DairyRepro$Plus is a PC-Based tool that implements a complex daily Markov chain model inspired on Giordano et al., 2012 (J. Dairy Science 95:5442) that simulates all cows in a herd and their economics, and computes the net return associated to reproductive performance parameters.

Installer package (Microsoft Windows) (Download)

Instructions and Documentation (Download)

Videos

Testimonial of Repro Money program: A team-based program to improve the reproductive performance of your herd. 2012. 5:01 minutes

(Click to View/Hide the Video)

Link to the video.

Tutorial of Dairy Comp 305 data collection for Repro Money program. 2011. 4:59 minutes.

(Click to View/Hide the Video)

Link to the video.