We have been working between rain showers. As the veterinarian was scheduled in advance we didn’t have a choice on the weather but it turned out to be a really nice day for preg-checking the heifers.
What is preg-checking?
Pregnancy detection (preg-checking) has been used in the beef industry for more than 60 years. There are many reasons for producers to preg-check including to evaluate herd and bull fertility, to help monitor herd reproductive health.
We only preg-check the bred heifers (young females who have not calved yet but have been exposed to the bull), this allows us to market open (non-pregnant) heifers that will not be joining the cow herd when they calve next spring.
The times are a-changing
Historically the veterinarian would use manual palpation to determine if a cow was pregnant. This was physically demanding on the vet and a couple of new technologies are now more readily available that make things easier on both the cow and the vet. This year the vet used an ultrasound machine. A well trained vet can be just as fast with either method if they are just preg-checking. Determining the birth date or gender of the calf takes more time.
Technology is great until the battery cover is missing and the process is on hold until it is found. It was difficult to find a little black battery cover in the midst of all the black mud! Thankfully it was found before it was stepped on. Here we are cleaning the cover – then back to work we go.
The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) has a webinar and decision making tool on the economics of preg-checking.
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