Pregnancy Testing of Cattle
In the beef cattle industry the goal is for the producer to have one cow produce one calf every year. If producers are unaware which cattle are pregnant and which are not, the producer may keep the cow for one year or longer without a calf resulting in decreased profit. The producer will provide veterinarian care, feed, water, and time to a cow/heifer that is not carrying a calf resulting in potential loss of $1,200.00 per cow per year. The main reason that producers were taking this loss is that they assumed that a veterinarian was needed to test the cattle to confirm if they were pregnant.
An interactive class was provided to show many things including how to pregnancy test cattle yourself. Once it was discovered that pregnancy test on cattle could be done for $3.00 a head by the producer themselves a true need was found and 19 producers stepped forward wanting to learn. They were taught the methods of collecting, identifying, and shipping the blood to the lab to be tested. An additional 7 producers contacted Extension wanting to learn how to pregnancy test their cattle and on farm visits were made to teach the additional producers.
With 19 producers learning how to pregnancy test their cattle and the average number of cows and heifers tested was 17 for each farm, an average of 320 cattle were pregnancy tested on farm by the producer themselves resulting in an average $960.00 being spent on pregnancy testing for all 19 producers. In the past the producer relied on a veterinarian to come and pregnancy test the cattle costing on average of $65.00 per farm visit plus an additional $5.00 per cow/heifer to pregnancy test resulting in an average $2,800.00 being spent on pregnancy testing for the 19 producers. By teaching the producer how to collect the blood to pregnancy test themselves an average of $1,800.00 was saved. With these savings and the cost of an open cow/heifer being an average of $1,200.00 per cow per year, the minimal cost of $3.00 to determine pregnancy has saved each producer hundreds of dollars and made it more feasible to reach a profit for cattle producers in Madison County.