Early pregnancy testing - knowledge is the key!
Pregnancy testing is an affordable and important management tool that should be considered by all cattle producers. Reproduction is a key driver to profitability in any cattle breeding enterprise and accurately measuring KPI’s is essential for monitoring and improving herd reproductive performance and efficiency.
Early pregnancy testing will provide you with the ability to:
- Accurately calculate your conception rates per paddock
- Cull empty unproductive cows early
- Make decisions on early weaning if required
- Segregate your cows into gestational mobs for ease of calving monitoring
- Accurately assess body condition score and identify any nutritional deficiencies
- Accurately assess foetal loses which may indicate underlying disease problems e.g. BVDV
- Identify bull problems
Failing to PREgCHECK a cow that is not pregnant, can result in up to nine months of feed being consumed before recognizing she won’t calve, leading to significant costs for producers. Producers that don’t preg test typically identify their ‘fat empty’ cows at branding time and this is frequently months after the last cows calve.
Every property has a limited carrying capacity and every producer a limited feed budget. Leading producers identify empty breeders early, allowing them to optimize their stocking density and maximize their potential kilograms of beef per hectare which drives their profitability. By budgeting to cull their expected empty cows, producers can push their breeder numbers to utilize the feed that otherwise would have been consumed by empty ‘non productive’ cows.
Pregnancy testing costs $2-$4 per head depending upon your herd size and location. Most producers annual feed and breeding costs for their cows equates to a minimum of $400 per breeder. If 10% are expected to be empty, and we identify those empty cows even half a year earlier, we would save $200 per empty cow diagnosed. If 10% are empty, the value distributed across the entire mob is $20 per head preg tested- this is a significant 10 fold return on investment (ROI). Producers who have their cows PREgCHECKed annually could run one extra breeder for every two cows expected to be diagnosed empty. With weaned calves bringing close to $900 currently, every two breeders culled early equates to an extra breeder in the system that will produce a calf 90% of the time. This works out to $810 per breeder or $40.50 return per head PREgCHECKed.
PREgCHECK accredited veterinarians are the only providers of pregnancy testing to have demonstrated the ability to accurately diagnose and estimate the age of pregnancies down to six weeks gestation. At Monto Vet Services we utilize both manual and ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis skills to provide gestational ageing and body condition scoring (at no extra charge) so your paddocks can be more accurately managed.
"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest" ... such a famous quote rings true when you relate it to pregnancy testing your herd early.