Milk Pregnancy Testing

Milk Pregnancy testing has been adopted by many dairy producers as a reliable and convenient means to determine if a cow is pregnant. Using either a preserved milk sample collected on test day, or a strip sample, a milk pregnancy test can be run as early as 28 days post-breeding to determine if the cow is pregnant or not. 

Knowing the initial status is only the starting point. Research has shown that 24.7% of pregnancies are lost throughout gestation. (Figure 1 shows the pattern in losses from the initial pregnancy determination until calving) To minimize economic losses, it is key that embryonic losses are caught as early as possible.

Using a confirmatory pregnancy test at two key points in time will help minimize losses. The first occurring around 56 days in gestation where typically 17.2% of losses have occurred and then a second follow-up pre dry-off to catch the remaining 7.2% of losses. 

Embryonic losses typically increase due to heat stress. With the summer months ahead, Milk Pregnancy testing can be a convenient tool to help you minimize days open.

Figure 1: Pregnancy loss in lactating Holstein cows assessed using transrectal ultrasonography from Day 28 post-breeding to calving. Total loss from Day 28 of gestation to calving was 24.7% (Adapted from Vasconcelos et al., 1997)
Table 1: Cost of pregnancy loss after 1, 4, or 7 months of gestation based on a simulation model for an average herd (Davis, University of Florida, J. Dairy Sci., Economic value of pregnancy in dairy cattle)