Beef & Dairy Cattle Services
We have an in depth knowledge of local conditions and factors affecting the health and productivity of a beef herd. We can provide you with a detailed herd health program – including timing of husbandry events – to ensure you get the most from your herd, whether it's a breeding, backgrounding or fattening operation.
We are a part of National Rural Independents (NRI) which is a rural buying group that enables us to source a large range of livestock products at very competitive prices. We currently stock a range of cattle parasiticides (including Paramectin, Oztik, Cydectin LA and Dectomax) and vaccines for botulism, pesti-virus, vibriosis, leptospirosis, 3 day sickness, as well as the 5in1 and 7in1 vaccines.
Our vets are accredited with the Australian Cattle Vets Association for both Pregnancy Testing (NCPD scheme) and Bull Testing (VBBSE Scheme).
The NCPD scheme is a nationally recognized quality tail tagging system for the identification and certification of cattle pregnancy status, particularly for sale purposes. The NCPD scheme seeks to promote excellence in cattle pregnancy testing skills, and ensures producers are able to fetch top dollar for their animals.
Why Should I pregnancy Test my beef herd?
1. Identify and cull any “freeloaders” in your herd.
An empty cow means no income or cashflow. Like any production business, when you have faulty equipment (an infertile cow) it needs to be replaced with working equipment in order to secure production income (calves) into the future. By not culling empty cows from your herd, it actually costs you money – the grass that one cow eats is worth about $3 per head per week. Although this is not a cash cost, the reality is if you didn’t have those cows eating your grass you could be getting an agistment income from someone else for this grass. So, we must treat grass as $$$ !
There are also herd health costs including supplements, vaccines and tick treatments. So the sooner you detect an empty cow in your herd and sell her, the more money you will save. It also gives you the opportunity to look for good quality replacement females sooner. For example, PTIC cows will secure your cashflow in the following year, and guarantees you fertile “equipment” in your production factory.
2. Tightening your calving interval.
By preg testing your herd, you can identify which cows will be dropping at the optimum time of year (Aug-Nov) when grass nutrition is at its peak at the start of the growing season. With a better than average season we have seen this last year and the high pregnancy rates we should achieve, it’s a perfect opportunity to identify the late calving cows. For most clients I suggest, before the end of May, we strip tail cows that will be calving late. This may be December calvers for some, or Jan/Feb calvers for others and is simply a process of identifying cows 3mths or less in calf; meaning they will calve after the beginning of December. It takes very little extra time yet at the end of preg testing we may have 10% of the breeders strip tailed. The owner can now make a decision to take advantage of this good year and sell these less fertile breeders. In poorer seasons preg testing is a useful tool if you need to look at off-loading some breeders during poor seasons – focus on offloading breeders that are calving out of the optimum time. Cows lactating in winter (when grass quality is poor) need more nutrition than what the grass can give, which can end up costing a lot of money. Another advantage in tightening your calving interval is having a more even line of weaners to sell, or an even line of heifers of similar weight and age to breed.
3. Disease control.
Another major advantage with preg testing your herd, is identifying any potential reproductive diseases in your herd early. Diseases such as leptospirosis, vibrio and bovine viral diarrhoea virus (pestivirus) which can all result in very low conception rates (down to 30% in some instances) and abortions. Early detection and management of all reproductive diseases can prevent huge losses in your beef herd and subsequent income.
4. Dollars in your pocket.
If you have a herd of 200 breeders, an average cost to preg test this mob would be about $450 (with good yard facilities). For a well run healthy herd, you can expect a conception rate of 85%. So through preg testing in March-April, we identify 30 empty cows in a herd of 200 breeders. If we didn’t preg test, and carried these empties until December (when we can detect those who have not calved) they would have cost us:
- Consumed about $2,160 grass ($3/hd/wk for 6 months),
- Eaten about $1,260 protein supplement over Winter (30c/hd/day from June – Oct)
- About $100 for tick/ animal health treatment.
The total cost to have 30 “freeloaders” in your herd from April – Dec would equate to about $3,520. So to preg test your herd early, it could end up saving you about $3000 by the end of the year, and that’s not accounting for the better condition your empty cows will be at the end of summer than at the end of winter.
One of the biggest returns on your investment as a beef producer is getting your bulls semen tested soundness evaluated annually.
The VBBSE Scheme uses prescribed assessments and summarises the results into five fertility components. If a bull meets all the minimum standards at all levels of the VBBSE, it has a high probability of being fertile.
At common law: a bull sold as a breeding bull should be able to breed (Supreme Court of NSW, Decision), so it is very important that as many as possible of the components of fertility are met in the VBBSE. A pass on VBBSE is not an express guarantee, but rather an indication of the potential breeding value of the bull in a normal mating situation.
A full VBBSE of a bull includes identification, history (including vaccinations) plus 5 key components, namely:
- A general physical examination including structure (conformation) and upper reproductive tract
- An examination of the testes and measurement of scrotal size
- A serving assessment to evaluate libido and mating ability
- Collection and assessment of a semen sample
- Laboratory examination of sperm morphology.
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