Early pregnancy testing

Early pregnancy testing takes place six weeks after the end of artificial breeding (AB) and allows the age of pregnancy to be determined.

Ageing can only be carried out between six weeks and twelve weeks of pregnancy, so getting cows scanned as close to the six-week mark after the end of AB is important.

A follow-up scan on all cows with no pregnancy detected at the first scan is performed six weeks after the bulls have been taken out.

So, why bother with an early scan?

Getting the age of the pregnancy, and therefore the date of conception and expected calving date, provides us with a lot of useful information:

  • Enables accurate feed budgeting for dry period and calving
  • Knowing when to bring cows back from run-offs before calving
  • Matching dry-off dates to body condition score (BCS) and expected calving date
    • Milking late calvers for longer to keep milk in the vat without compromising the length of the dry period
  • Transitioning cows optimally in spring
    • Knowing when to take cows off feed crops at the right time before calving
    • Adjusting pasture intake and Dietary Cation-Anion Difference (DCAD) salts to their diet in the three weeks prior to calving to reduce the risk of milk fever
    • Transitioning cows onto the milking cow diet so there are no sudden changes at calving
  • Identifying cows pregnant to AB and who are the late calvers
    • This is especially useful when resources are tight and hard decisions need to be made when culling cows
  • Knowing your six-week in calf rate (6WICR)
    • This a key performance indicator of how well reproduction is managed on your farm
    • The information gained from your 6WICR can indicate problem areas which need addressing on your farm

If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to call or pop into the clinic for a chat.