In any beef or dairy cattle enterprise, the continual identification of unproductive stock is essential to ensure ongoing herd productivity. One way to ensure you are keeping only reproductively sound animals in your herd is to implement annual pregnancy testing.
Ideally cows should be pregnancy tested at least 8 weeks after the bull has been removed and before the dry season where pasture availability will be low.
Rectal palpation is much faster and equally as accurate as ultrasound when performed by a qualified and experienced veterinarian. Dr. Nathan Hitchcock is accredited in manual pregnancy diagnosis through the Australian Cattle Veterinarians PREgCHECK scheme (also known as the National Cattle Pregnancy Diagnosis scheme). You can read more about the scheme here: ACV PREgCHECK My Cattle Vet
Nathan offers pregnancy testing in cows and heifers via rectal examination. He is able to detect pregnancy as early as 6 weeks. Good facilities are essential and need to include a kick gate and head bail. Some shade from a roof of some sort over the crush is always nice as well!
Non pregnant cows are unproductive and should be managed carefully. Pregnancy testing is a cheap and convenient method of identifying empty cows at an early stage. Pregnancy testing can also identify fertility problems allowing earlier investigation and action.
Spaying of heifers and cows via the Willis dropped ovary technique is a service offered by Nathan. Check out this link Spaying Cattle for more details.
Bull testing is an important part of ensuring your herd of cattle are fertile. Bulls should be examined for fertility as soon as they are purchased, and again before going in with the cows. The Veterinary Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation (VBBSE) is a standardized examination developed by the Australian Cattle Veterinarians to identify those bulls at increased risk of being sub fertile. Australian Cattle Vets’ members who have examined over 500 bulls, and passed both practical and theory exams to demonstrate their expertise to their peers can achieve the status of an “accredited VBBSE veterinarian” and the program is known as “BULLCHECK”
You can read more about ACV accreditation and the VBBSE examination here: BULLCHECK
Dr. Nathan Hitchcock is an ACV accredited VBBSE veterinarian.
Artificial Breeding Programs – AI & ET
Artificial Insemination & Embryo Transfer (AI & ET) programs offer producers the opportunity to multiply the number of animals carrying desirable genes much faster than natural mating and service can achieve. For example, a single valuable stud cow is limited to 10 – 15 calves as an absolute maximum in her lifetime, while an ET program using her eggs can multiply that by 10 or even 20 times! AI programs give access to the genetics of bulls that could be on the other side of Australia, and allow a valuable bull to father hundreds of times more calves than he ever could with natural mating.
We can assist you to implement programs for Artificial Insemination (including Fixed Time AI) and Embryo Transfer. Normally producers perform their own insemination, but ask us to supply the prescription drugs required to make these programs work. Ring us for quotes on these drugs, as we have some very good pricing on them. ET programs are usually performed by specialist veterinarians, and we can assist you in contacting these specialist and providing the prescription drugs required.
Johnes Disease Surveillance (BJD Testing)
Bovine Johnes Disease (BJD) is a chronic, incurable disease of adult cattle caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. Symptoms include diarrhoea, reduced milk production, weight loss and eventually death. The disease is mainly spread through ingestion of contaminated faeces. For more information about BJD relevant to the North Burnett, see our Biosecurity Plan Template Introduction.
We provide the service of faecal (manure) testing of live cattle. This is usually a Check Test of 50 adult cattle over 2 years old, that are representative of the whole herd.
Farm Biosecurity Plans & J-BAS Scores 0 – 8
We offer assistance in finalising, implementing and yearly reviewing of Biosecurity Plans. To know what would be best suited to you, read our Biosecurity Plan Template Introduction and give us a call. We can answer any questions you may have.