Pregnancy testing cows: too expensive not to do

Do you think pregnancy testing is expensive?

If so, odds are that you haven’t really thought about why you do it in the first place!

Profitable production systems sail close to the wind. They strive to capitalise on all of their resources. Pregnancy diagnosis isn’t just about measuring the success of your bulls, predicting your next calf crop, or injecting cash flow into your enterprise – it is about ensuring that every cow on your property is working as hard as you are!

In essence, pregnancy diagnosis is about identifying empty cows and heifers earlier than they would have been otherwise. What is the advantage in this? Quite simply, empty animals can be removed nine months earlier than they would be if identified by wet/drying at calf marking!Brahman_cow_&_calf

pregnancy diagnosis via ultrasound in Dingo Qld
pregnancy diagnosis via ultrasound in Dingo Qld

If a beef property typically enjoys a 90% pregnancy rate, they could run an additional 7.5% breeders and turn off an additional 6.75% calves by routinely pregnancy testing. Let’s look at it another way…

If a producer’s cow running costs are $8 per week, or $416 per year, ¾ of the input costs from each empty cow could be salvaged by pregnancy testing early. Essentially, each empty diagnosed saves the producer $312. At 10% empty, that equates to close to a $30 return on investment from pregnancy testing per cow.

Is accuracy important? Absolutely. If a retained empty cow tears up $416, then every 1% error misdiagnosing an empty as pregnant costs the producer $4.16 per cow. If calves are worth $600, then every pregnant called empty costs the producer $600 minus $416, or $184.  Every 1% error misdiagnosing a pregnant animal as empty costs the producer $1.84 per cow.

If you still think pregnancy testing is expensive, maybe you should read through this article again – with close to a 1000% return on money spent, pregnancy diagnosis is perhaps the best investment beef producers can make!

More food for thought: click here to listen to a webinar on this topic by Meat & Livestock Australia.

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