News & Advice

Ensure you get the best information from your pregnancy testing

Nov 8, 2017 | Dairy, Dairy Farm Reproduction

Katrina Roberts, Anexa FVC Herd Health Veterinarian

Did you know that most of our spring-calving clients scan their herd in January? If you don’t scan at that time, then you are probably asking yourself why would anyone go to all that effort of coming home from the beach for a couple of days to row the cows up on a hot summer’s day just to pregnancy test their cows? Surely it can wait until the kids are back at school…can’t it?

What extra information are those farmers getting by scanning that little bit earlier, and what does this extra information mean? By scanning 11-14 weeks after your PSM, all your cows will have an accurate expected calving date. This means:


  1. More milk in the vat

Why dry off a cow in March that is in adequate BCS and isn’t calving until August? The difference between feeding a milking and a dry cow in the autumn is about 6kg DM. At 30 cents/kg DM this is $1.80/day; a cost far out-weighed by milk in the vat.


  1. Manage BCS better in the autumn

Set your cows up better for next season. We know that mature cows that calve at target BCS 5 and second calvers that calve at 5.5 produce more next season. It is crucial that the young cows are dried off earlier to reach these targets as they take a long time to start gaining BCS once dry. Cows that are closer to calving (in the last trimester particularly) have higher energy requirements as the foetus is starting to require more energy; that is the July calvers need more food than the September calvers in April.


  1. Better transition management

Having a calving date for each cow means that a springer mob can be made on expected calving dates. Better transition management means less animal health issues and more production.


  1. You know your 6-week in calf rate

Your 6 week in-calf rate is the most powerful and useful indicator of reproductive performance. Early scanning helps you to identify areas where you are performing well, and sheds light on aspects where there is room for improvement. You can also assess the impact of any management changes you might have made.


  1. Getting rid of culls at the right time to get the best results.

Knowing your late calvers and empty cows early means you can make better decisions, this may before the cull cow price drops and summer dry arrives.


  1. Value for money

There is little extra cost in scanning earlier, in fact if you mate for only nine weeks, there is no extra cost at all, as one scan will give you all the information! However, if you mate for longer than nine weeks, then some cows will need to be rechecked at a later date five to six weeks after mating ends. In an average herd, you would expect to have about 20% of the herd needing to be rescanned.

Talk to your Anexa FVC Vet to ensure you are scanning at the right time to get the information you need.

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