In the past, many dairy reproductive programs used informal communications between employees and the veterinarian, there was a lack of teamwork, the program would change on a whim and those who developed the program — often the veterinarian — didn’t know when or why.

Speaking at the 2012 Western Veterinary Conference last week, John Day, DVM, Dairy Health Services, Jerome, Idaho, says producers would take anecdotal information from neighbors, did not implement any type of monitoring, and procedural drift by employees contributed to less than stellar reproductive performance.

Day had dairies like that, and found a better way to manage reproductive programs using the Dairy Breakthrough Management principles developed at University of California-Davis. “We worked in stages,” he said, and described how each facet of the repro program was managed.

He first started with the transition cow program to make sure fresh cow problems were managed. Then he moved on to the first heat cycle after the voluntary waiting period. “It’s easy to manipulate and easy to monitor,” he says. Following that he concentrated on the second heat cycle and first breeding, then the resynch program for missed heats and open cows.

Central to his management system was establishing teams. “We need the injection team, the breeder, the herd manager and the veterinarian to all be a team,” he said. “We all had to know why, what and how we were doing things, when injections would take place and what results we wanted.”

Compliance is a major part of these systems, Day stressed. “Some people want 90% compliance as far as getting cows injected in their breeding programs, but then we’re missing cows. We want all cows to get their injections when they are supposed to for success.” Compliance also includes the correct dosage and route of administration. Day said injections need to be IM, not subQ, have the correct amount and given at the correct time.

“We need teambuilding and individual buy-in,” Day recommended. “Implementation and monitoring separate successful programs from wrecks.”