By Sara Brown
Dairy producers preg test cows all the time. Why should cattle producers patiently wait until the cow exhibits signs of being in heat? Every day your cow isn't bred is a day of loss.
If the vet can't (or in some cases won't) visit the farm, consider pulling your own blood tests to find those empty cows. At the University of Missouri's Thompson Farm research field day, animal science professor Matt Lucy said blood testing is economical and easy for producers to do.
The key is timing. Cow pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAG) are present in the blood stream after 25 days bred. As the calf is developing, PAG levels will continue to rise until the calf is born. It takes 60 days after calving for cows to relieve all the PAG proteins in their system. Preg testing should only be done after that 60-day time period, to ensure the PAG proteins are from the current pregnancy.
Lucy identified the BioPRYN test for the northern Missouri producers at the field day because of its easy handling. They recommend producers wait 30 days after breeding and 90 days after calving. No special packaging is required, just proper labeling of the box and samples. Results can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed. Supplies are available at many farm supply stores.
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