CONCEPTION rate, which can be expressed as the number of services required to establish a viable pregnancy or as a percentage of a herd becoming pregnant relative to the total number of services administered, has historically been used as a key measurement in monitoring the reproductive success of many dairy herds. The desired outcome of pregnancy is the aggregated effect of many factors that can impact on an individual cow's ability to conceive, which, in turn, contributes to the overall performance of the herd. Nationally, there is little doubt that conception rates have fallen, particularly over the past 25 years, resulting in a conception rate in the national herd in the region of 35 per cent (ie, approximately three services per conception). This article discusses the factors underlying this trend and highlights how these might be managed to enable successful management of conception rates in the national herd in the future.
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