We recently discovered a new article over at Beef Magazine on the math behind Preg-Checking. It is a great read and we highly recommend it. We also wanted to ask one of our local veterinarians what her thoughts on it was, here’s what she had to say…
From Dr. Jen Haugland:
I think it’s important to reword the phrase preg-checking to “Herd Health”. I can’t stress enough that when you call a veterinarian to the ranch or farm to diagnose pregnant cows, you have a trained medical professional essentially trapped until you are finished with the work for the day. We are passionate about sharing the knowledge we have collected in both school and life about cattle, whether it be about the vaccine protocol, mineral, parasite control and so on.
My entire career is based on clients doing well and being successful at their trade in the cattle business. I often run into the phrases from clients of “I don’t think we are going to preg-check this year” or “What vaccines can I get away with not giving this year?” I know where they are coming from, my family raises cattle in South West Montana. I know what the market is doing because I work the sale barn every Monday. But I can’t stress enough that skipping the herd health for the year or cutting back on a vaccine to cut costs is really the best way to add expenses to the operation. I’ve had clients go from 97% pregnancy rates to 85% and even one to 5%(real life heifer group). This would be considered a wreck, but it’s something that we can find in October and November during my visit to the ranch, we can discuss why it happened. Is it an infectious disease? Was it a bad bull? We can attempt to fix the situation instead of just waiting until you don’t have a calf crop to sell.
The recent article in Beef Magazine says it cost ~$380 in feed to keep one open cow in the herd over the winter. In any other commodity market, our goal is to buy goods when the market is low and sell when it is high. This should be the same goal for us. I encourage you to look at the financial side of selling open cull cows when the market is low and reinvest that money into bred cows/ bred heifers, who in turn should also be lower due to the market. If you spend your $380 in feed costs on a new pregnant animal, you get to reap the benefits of selling a calf the following fall.
I like to keep it simple, the math supports calling the veterinarian to the ranch to do a herd health, which includes a consultation on: Pregnancy diagnosis (preg-checking), Body Condition score, Nutrition, calf scour prevention, vaccination protocols, pneumonia prevention and treatment in weaned calves, internal parasites treatment and lice control and so much more.
Veterinarians want to help producers become the most profitable, and should be looked at as a revenue builder not just an expense.
To read the full article click here!