Benefits of beef cattle pregnancy testing

beef cattle pregnancy testing

Aged scanning in beef cattle allows you to better understand the needs of your herd.

There are many advantages to age pregnancy testing your beef herd that can provide you with more information than standard wet/dry testing. Fetal aging is essential for understanding your herd’s reproduction performance and to make the right changes to improve results.

The benefits of age scanning your beef herd:

  • More accurate monitoring of cows closer to calving. This is especially helpful for heifers and studs where recording is important.
  • Wintering the herd into early, mid & late calving groups.
  • Better allocation of feed, according to calving groups.
  • The ability to sell late calving cows. This may be handy when feed is tight and you can’t get the stock away to the works as expected. This also gives you the option to reduce the calving spread if the late calving cows are replaced by early calving heifers.
  • Early identification of whole herd disease or management problems that affect reproduction. Cystic ovaries and uterine infections can also be identified.
  • Analysing bull sub-fertility - if the conception rates change after the bulls have been swapped, the suspect bulls can be further fertility tested.

The scanning process:

  • The ideal time to scan is around 80 days since the bull was put in with the cows/heifers.
  • Any cows with no detectable pregnancy at the time of the scan (the “re-checks”) will need to have a re-check scan at a later date - when the bull has been out of the herd for at least 6 weeks. Alternatively, we can do a wet/dry scan later (but the late pregnancies won’t be aged).

Other things we can do at the same time…

  • NAIT scan as we go.
  • Blood test for BVD and/or trace elements (e.g. Selenium).
  • Body Condition Score (BCS)
  • A few animals that need dehorning.

- Cecilia Landman


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