Reviewed by: Jay Parsons, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Bill DeMoss, Mountain Vet supply
(Previously published online with Agriview: September 5, 2019)
Pregnancy detection in the ewe provides the opportunity to adjust nutritional and lambing management to save on feed and labor costs. The old adage that “one open ewe takes the profits of five producing ewes” may be true when all costs are calculated. Early determination of fetal numbers and gestational stage gives the option of sorting for nutritional demands in late pregnancy and early lactation. Without that information, the single-bearing ewe is being fed too much or the twin-bearing ewe too little. Open ewes are robbing the pregnant ewes of necessary nutrition. Grouping according to gestational stage will also save on labor and allow for better utilization of facilities and biosecurity.
The key in any type of business is producing an end product, or more simply put, production. The economic benefit of pregnancy testing in cattle, whether it be beef or dairy, has been proven time and time again. The product at the farm or ranch level from a cow is the calf and milk. Individual production must be taken into account in those businesses; it boils down to pounds of meat or milk produced per cow. That’s not only looked at annually but also throughout the lifetime of the cow. The earlier one can tell if there’s a viable pregnancy, the more potential for greater profit.