Page 7 - MWC 08-5-2021s
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Consider Early Pregnancy Checking                                                           The Midwest Cattleman · August 5, 2021 · P7

       Beef Cattle During Drought

         In a drought year, live- for more timely management
      stock management decisions  decisions.
      become more difficult when            Early pregnancy testing
      feed resources are limited.        helps producers make im-
         “Many North Dakota pro- portant management deci-
      ducers already have culled  sions related to nutrition
      old cows, cows that lost their  programs and marketing
      calves and even cow-calf  plans, as well as evaluating
      pairs, yet further reductions  the reproductive efficiency of
      in stocking rates may be nec- the cow herd. If possible, pro-
      essary,” says Janna Block,  ducers can collect weights at
      livestock systems special- pregnancy checking time to
      ist based at North Dakota  help calculate livestock feed
      State University’s Hettinger  needs for fall and winter and                An ultrasound is one way of checking cows' pregnancy early. (NDSU photo)
      Research Extension Center.  utilize forage supplies more
      “Early pregnancy testing is  efficiently.  If  producers  are         performed by a skilled tech- tests are another option for
      one way to identify and cull  weaning calves early and                nician at around 40 days  pregnancy diagnosis that can
      unprofitable open cows or  conducting an early pregnan-               post-breeding; however, ac- be used within 60 to 90 days
      cows that conceived late in  cy check at the same time,               curacy is increased when  post-calving and 25 to 30
      the breeding season.”              weaning weight ratios can          performed at around 55 to  days post-breeding, depend-
         Pregnancy testing for most  be calculated and considered           60 days  after breeding. Ul- ing on the type of test used.
      spring-calving herds typical- when making later culling               trasound  can be utilized as  Test kits can be purchased
      ly is carried out in late sum- decisions.                             early as 28 days after breed- from         several    commercial
      mer or fall in  conjunction           Standard      methods      for  ing.  The experience level of  sources, and blood samples
      with weaning or precondi- pregnancy checking include                  the technician and method  can be collected on the ranch
      tioning calves. However, cows  rectal palpation, ultrasound,          used will determine the ear- by the producer.
      can be checked as early as 28  or blood-based pregnancy               liest date that tests can be         Because      the    pregnan-
      to 30 days after the end of  tests.                                   conducted.                        cy-associated glycoproteins
      the breeding season to allow          Rectal palpation can be           Blood-based        pregnancy                  continued on page 17

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