Pregchecking is an important tool to manage your herd efficiently. There are multiple ways to determine the pregnancy status of an animal: wait and see, palpate, draw blood and ultrasound. As in many facets of the cattle industry, there is not a one size fits all solution. Most of us are addressing the questions, “Am I feeding open cattle?” and, “How do I determine which are my most productive animals?”. Ultrasound technology helps answer these questions.
Ultrasounds are a tool that allow us to visualize the uterus of the animals. Resulting in more data, which can help us with management decisions. Obviously, the simple pregnancy status of pregnant/open is often the most important. But, fetal aging can be quite beneficial for an operation. Knowing whether the heifers are carrying an AI or a bull baby and knowing approximately when they will calve can help your operation run more efficiently. Pregchecking early and staging the pregnancies is very helpful in years like this one, when feed is either expensive or in short supply. Ultrasounding offers information that can be valuable when making culling decisions (particularly if done before 120 days of gestation).
Extension Arm ultrasound makes pregchecking easier. The convex rectal prove that is used, offers a larger viewing window than traditional linear probe ultrasounds. Extension arm ultrasounding is a learned skill. ReproScan offers lots of training courses across the country; these courses are a great place to improve your existing skills, learn the basics, or simply see if an ultrasound is right for you.