Unwanted pregnancy in heifers involved in domestic grainfeeding programs costs the feedlot industry millions of dollars in lost productivity each year, as well as associated animal welfare concerns.
But fortunately, more advanced and easier-to-use diagnostic tools are now emerging to moderate the risk.
Addressing the problem faced by the industry is a new ultrasound pregnancy test scanning unit, which was chosen as BeefEx 2012’s Integrated Animal Production Innovation Award winner.
The ReproScan ultrasound pregnancy scanner was developed in Canada, where it has been in wide use for the past two years. The unit’s key point of innovation is in the convex rectal probe which is easy to use and provides a field of view claimed to be three-and-a-half times that of lineal probes used in the past.
While there are also wide applications outside the feedlot sector in the extensive cattle industry, the ReproScan allows lotfeeders themselves to easily access pregnancy status of heifers, during induction.
The equipment itself is ruggedly constructed and splash-proof, for everyday crushside use. The unit weighs only 1.5kg with the battery, which has an operating life of up to six hours, with a four-hour recharge. There are eight pre-set examinations and rapid zoom for close-up exams. Image storage is either direct or via wireless to a computer. The machine has been rated for use in conditions up to 40 degrees C.
The LCD monitor comes with its own padded sun-shade for ease of viewing in bright conditions.
The Catagra Group personnel have in-depth knowledge and experience in ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis in cattle, having jointly scanned several million females over the past ten years in North America, New Zealand and Australia. They specialise in providing on-property/feedlot ultrasound training to managers and livestock staff throughout Australia. Personnel can accurately test pregnancy with just one day’s training.
For more details of Catagra Group’s ReproScan, click here.
A strong field of six entries was received for this year’s IAP Innovation awards at BeefEx this year, suggesting that new product and service development for the feedlot industry is alive and well.
The competition is judged by an expert industry panel on the basis of each competing product or service’s degree of originality, benefit offered to the lotfeeding industry and ease of implementation throughout the industry.
Other finalists this year included: