Farm Talk

Equine

March 1, 2011

Analyze mare reproductive efficiency

Parsons, Kansas — If a horse farm experiences low conception or foaling rates, it is likely that some step in breeding management is the cause rather than the breeding efficiency of the mare.

“To promote good conception and foaling rates, the horse breeder first must identify the farm's efficiency status and compare it to a realistic optimum,” said Dave Freeman, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension equine specialist. “There are three basic steps breeding managers should examine to accomplish this.”

The first step is to look at pregnancy rates. Pregnancy rate is the number of mares diagnosed pregnant divided by the number of mares bred and then multiplied by 100. Pregnancy rates can be affected by reproductive status of mares, the age of mares and the time of breeding in relation to the estrous season.

“For example, early season pregnancy rates may be lower because of transitional estrus irregularities in some mares,” Freeman said. “In addition, the number of mares handled and bred on a farm can affect pregnancy rate if stallion semen production, time or labor constraints result in poor management.”

Regardless, on an average population of mares, pregnancy rates should be at least 80 percent with goals of 90 percent or more.

Another useful breeding efficiency tool is to look at cycles per conception. The obvious goal of the breeding manager is to approach one cycle per conception for the breeding season. In other words, have each mare settled on one heat cycle.

“Goals between 1.3 cycles and 1.7 cycles per conception would yield an average of 1.5 cycles per conception,” Freeman said. “This would indicate that half the mares were settled on one heat cycle while the remaining mares were settled on the subsequent estrus. As a practical management tool, that's fairly efficient.”

The third step is to study the foaling rate, the number of mares foaling divided by the number of mares bred multiplied by 100. The difference between foaling rate and pregnancy rate is pregnancy loss.

“Remember, the ultimate goal is to get a live foal on the ground,” Freeman said. “Pregnancy losses greater than 10 percent indicate a problem requiring immediate attention.”

Pregnancy loss may be affected by early embryonic loss or misdiagnosis of pregnancy. Late gestation losses may be caused by rhinopneumonitis or ingestion of endophyte-infected fescue.

While pregnancy rate, cycles per conception and foaling rate do not identify the cause of poor reproductive performance, they do assist in identifying performance of the different steps of the breeding program.

“If any of the three indices are not satisfactory, then the breeding manager should review all management practices during or following the breeding season,” Freeman said. “After review and consultation, new procedures can be implemented.”

In turn, the effectiveness of new procedures can be measured by comparing them with rates from past breeding seasons.

1
Text Only
Equine
  • HorseFest this weekend

    March 18, 2014

  • Tax changes for horse operations

    During 2013, horse owners, breeders and businesses enjoyed a number of favorable tax provisions that have now reverted to lower levels or expired. Over sixty tax provisions expired, some applied to all businesses, including the horse industry, and one was specifically applicable to owners of race horses.

    March 11, 2014

  • Bill lets Oklahoma counties decide horse slaughter

    A state senator is making a last-ditch plea for his bill that would require county voters to first approve any horse slaughtering facility before it could open.

    February 25, 2014

  • Treatments foals may need immediately after birth

    February 18, 2014

  • Missouri denies horse slaughter application

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Citing federal budget restrictions, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources recently turned down a request for a permit from a northwest Missouri business that sought to slaughter horses for meat.

    February 4, 2014

  • horse slaughter.jpg Mo. company prepares to process horse meat

    GALLATIN, Mo. (AP) — A small northwest Missouri company has been preparing to slaughter horses for meat after a federal appeals court lifted an emergency stay on U.S. horse slaughter operations.

    December 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • EKHA members.jpg EKHA horseman group honors golden anniversary

    Cowboys and cowgirls young and old recently celebrated the Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association (EKHA) with a year-end awards banquet.

    November 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • Government shutdown could impact horse industry

    To date Congress has failed to pass any of the annual appropriation bills that fund government agencies and projects for the 2014 fiscal year (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014). Congress has also failed to come to an agreement regarding a Continuing Resolution that would continue to fund the government past the end of the current fiscal year.

    October 8, 2013

  • AQHA scholarship deadline Dec. 1

    Available scholarships range from $500 to $25,000 and vary in length from one to four years, and recipients will be required to renew their scholarship annually.

    October 2, 2013

  • May 2 Hutch 017 (1).jpg EWD horse classes benefit disabled riders

    Horses have long been credited for being beneficial to those with a wide array of disabilities. These positive benefits have helped prompt efforts to include disabled riders in horse shows.

    September 25, 2013 2 Photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content