At this time of year, most cattle producers have removed their bulls from their cattle herds, and are starting to consider pregnancy testing to confirm the success of their joining period.
Rectal palpation has been the gold standard method of pregnancy diagnosis in cattle for many years. This involves using a gloved hand and arm to palpate the reproductive tract of the cow through the rectal wall. A veterinarian can diagnose pregnancy from six to eight weeks following the completion of joining.
Cattle that have not joined, or may have slipped a calf in the early stages of pregnancy, can be identified, and either placed on a lower plane of nutrition to save farm resources, or sold while the market remains favourable. It can also identify reproductive problems in bulls.
In addition to pregnancy testing, a veterinarian can also provide a vast combination of information on issues with cow and bull fertility, if they should be found, as well as any other issues that you have on farm that may require veterinary advice, such as vaccination, pinkeye, pestivirus, lameness or biosecurity matters.
If you are selling cattle that you expect to be in calf, a premium can also be achieved through the use of a NCPD tail tag, which an accredited cattle veterinarian can provide following pregnancy testing, as buyers can be confident of the pregnancy status of the cow.
Following the recent rain and an expected autumn flush, it is also advisable to vaccinate stock to ensure they are up to date, and covered against clostridial diseases, especially pulpy kidney which is often experienced following lush pasture growth, or a change in paddock.