According to Kingshay, the cost of infertility in the average costed herd is 2.31p per litre (£197 per cow). Of course, management plays a critical role in cutting these costs, but the odds can be stacked in your favour if the genetics of fertility are also improved.

Cattle from the Nordic countries are renowned for their health and fertility. Professor Britt Berglund from the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences attributes the Nordic countries’ successes to the farmers’ mentality as well as the early computerisation of recording and the importance society attaches to these traits.

She says: “We started recording fertility as early as the beginning of the 1970s and had developed a genetic index for fertility which was included in the Nordic Total Merit Index by the mid-1970s.”

All of this gave the Nordic breeders a head-start on the rest of the world and while other countries were selecting more single-mindedly for milk production, the Viking countries were developing genetic indexes for health and fertility too. Today, the VikingGenetics countries’ genetic expression of fertility is amongst the most sophisticated in the world.

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