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24th May, 2019

Scanning cows reveals importance of scanning at the right time in the production cycle

On a farm visit outside Mountrath, Co. Laois, a client presented a herd of dairy cows that had not been scanned for the previous year.  This client has a year round calving pattern excluding one month in August for calvings.  Bulls are now back in with the herd for calving in September.  Scanning revealed a number of issues, a number of cows which were in excess of 220 days pregnant.  These cows should have been dried previously but the client had thought they were not long enough calved.  However, with a stock bull running with the herd, some cows will establish pregnancy prior to 50 days calved and these will result in calving intervals of less than 11 months.  On the other side of the production cycle, there were freshly calved cows which had severe uterine infections associated with pre-calving and post calving management.  Scanning identified this problem and enables the client to take action to prevent the same happening again in the future.

In addition, we identified several cows which had a risk associated with carrying twins.  Identifying these cows at this stage enables a greater ability to detect same on a later scan.  Identification of cows carrying twins is not accurately feasible beyond 3.5 months of pregnancy.  In addition, the accurate ageing and sexing of pregnancies is best achieved between 35 and 110 days of pregnancy.  In conclusion, this visit established for the client the need for routine scanning at three month intervals throughout the year for a year round calving pattern.