Young empty cows

What to do with your young MT Cows?

by Ian Wickham, March 2006.

Conventional wisdom (or myth) is that all MT cows should go to slaughter. The justification for this is usually along the lines:

“If they are MT once, they will be MT again” “(If you keep them) you will breed infertility into your herd!”

In the words of a beer advertisement; “Yeah – Right!”

My view is very different! With the qualification that there are no other reasons to cull these cows except that they are MT, by holding them over to the next lactation, they will represent the most economic herd replacements you are likely to put your hands on.

Yes, of course some of them may not become pregnant again, but the in-calf rate is likely to be better than your dairy herd and similar to the virgin heifer group.

The cost of holding them over to the next lactation (up to 14 months) will be much lower than the cost of a new heifer.

They will re-enter the herd and produce a mature level of milksolid – much more than a heifer. This INCREASED production alone will pay the cost of holding her over – as long as it is NOT ON THE DAIRY UNIT. (Talk to our NZGCL staff).

Worried about breeding infertility into your herd? Very simply – use natural mating to get these hold over cows in calf – and ONLY keep your replacements from dairy A.B. Sires.

Oh – two more important recommendations.

Double check that your MT cows are in fact MT.

Use a veterinarian to verify that there is no infection or other problem in the reproductive tract likely to disqualify a cow from being a hold over candidate.

And one more thing…. AGE!

All my recommendations above relate to cows that have calved at 24 months of age. MT heifers? – you decide!

Also cows aged more than say 8 years old may not be worth it.