Dairy Cow Challenges


It is now widely recognized that reduced fertility in dairy herds is one of the most important factors affecting a producer’s profitability. The nutritional management of dairy cows has a direct influence on fertility performance, particularly in early lactation.

The focus on fertility issues tends to be at the time of service but, in reality, fertility is a process that starts with managing the quality of the egg to be served, by ensuring correct follicle development and ends with successful implantation of the resulting embryo. Successful fertility therefore depends on the correct management and nutrition for the whole period, from up to 3 months before service until 50 days afterwards.

Any inadequacies in cow comfort and cow management, particularly those leading to stress, metabolic disorders or imbalances in nutrition will compromise fertility.


If the cow is in negative energy balance (losing too much weight) during the egg management phase, the quality of the egg will be reduced.


Excess rumen degradable protein (or insufficient fermentable energy) in the ration will lead to surplus ammonia being absorbed across the rumen wall resulting in elevated blood and milk urea levels. If too much ammonia is produced on its way to being detoxified in the liver, it will interfere with sperm motility and disrupt embryonic development.

Trace Elements

The right balance of trace elements in the tissues of the cow is vital for both egg management and embryo development.

Dairy Cow Challenges