Pregnancy Checking Your Cows and First Calf Heifers
We have discussed four key cornerstones to successful beef production. In this post, we will examine the second cornerstone listed which is pregnancy checking your cow herd.
Why preg check your cows? It's simple - pregnancy checking gives you the best road map of where your herd is headed and how things are going for a minimal investment. It is the best economic snapshot of your herd's performance.
The single biggest contributor to economic success in a beef cow herd is reproductive rates and live births. A 1% increase in reproductive performance generates a threefold greater return on investment than a 1% improvement in product or growth factors. Cull cows, or cows marketed off the farm, generate up to 20% of the annual income of a beef cow operation.
An additional benefit of pregnancy checking is that it allocates time for breeding season management. Many producers in Virginia struggle with being able to pull their bulls out of the herd after a 60-75 day breeding season. By identifying cows that are late breeders at pregnancy check, we can cull them from the herd or move them to another management group to manage breeding season length. These cows can also be marketed separately from open cows for extra value.
While at the chute, take advantage of the time to provide any herd vaccinations and other health checks that are needed. By giving annual boosters of all vaccines including 7 way blackleg, the health program remains strong and conception rates cans stay at more profitable levels. With today's markets, you simply can't afford to feed open cows.