The Cost of Keeping One Open Cow Can Pay to Have the Herd Pregnancy Checked

– Dr. Andrew Griffith, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Tennessee

Recently the topic of pregnancy checking was discussed. There are several producers who use palpation, ultrasound, or blood test to determine the pregnancy status of cows in the herd. However, there are more producers who use either the eye test or fail to pregnancy check at all.

Regardless of what one may think, every producer is faced with the cost of pregnancy diagnosis. On average, pregnancy diagnosis immediately following the breeding season using palpation, ultrasound, or blood test will cost $5 to $10 per head.

Alternatively, unless actively looking for signs of a cow returning to estrous, the cost of pregnancy diagnosis is the cost of feeding the cow from the end of the breeding season until the end of the calving season and then finding out the cow was not bred. That cost can vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions but will generally range from $200 to $400 per head. Thus, finding one open cow in a herd of 40 will essentially pay for pregnancy checking.