The Economics of Preg-Checking

CRS Fact Sheet sponsored by Merck Animal Health

As cow-calf margins tighten, producers are looking for ways to cut costs to support margins. It is time to scrutinize every cost. The first place typically looked at is around winter feed, which accounts for over 50 per cent of the total cost of keeping a cow. All cost cutting measures needs to be examined to light of the impact on herd health, productivity and ultimately per unit cost of production. Any action that reduces reproductive efficiency can end up costing more than it saves.

Each year, a producer is faced with the decision of whether or not to preg-check; this decision can have a significant impact on the producer’s bottom line. There are many factors that must be considered in the decision to preg-check including economics and herd fertility.

The Western Canadian Cow-Calf Survey (WCCCS) reported the conception rate for all females was 92.8 per cent in 2013 down from 95.6 per cent in the 1997/98 Alberta survey. There are more open cows now than 15 years ago. In general, cull cows make up between 15-30 per cent of cow/calf producer income. The management of cull cows is not an insignificant portion of the operation.  Please view the full article by visiting the CanFax Website.