Why is early metrichecking one of your best returns on investment?

Why is early metrichecking one of your best returns on investment?
By Katrina Roberts, Herd Health Veterinarian, Anexa Vets

We’ve known for years that dirty cows (cows with uterine infections or endometritis) take 2 to 3 weeks longer to get in-calf and have empty rates 10-30% higher than clean cows. In fact some of the original research was done here at Anexa in the 1990’s.

We know that treating these dirty cows before planned start of mating (PSM) leads to better in-calf rates and less empty animals.

We also know that the herd-level prevalence of endometritis varies hugely, some herds with only a couple of dirty cows and some at 30-50%. We do not understand all the risk factors for endometritis, but once the cow has calved, the wheels are in motion and it’s too late to ponder the why and more important to find them and treat them well before mating starts. If we find lots of dirty cows in your herd, we can look at who they are and put some things in place for next season.

We know there will be cows in the herd more likely to develop endometritis (‘At Risk’). However, there are cows with no health issues recorded that are also dirty. In fact, 71% of metricheck positive cows come from non-at-risk cows!

Metrichecking is a simple and cost-effective method for finding dirty cows and studies have shown better responses to treatment when cows are detected and treated earlier. New Zealand research indicates that the in-calf rates of cows diagnosed metricheck positive and treated were higher when the herd was metrichecked in batches. Effectively this meant cows with endometritis detected earlier and treated earlier lead to better reproductive outcomes (9.6% higher 6-week in-calf rates) than the traditional whole herd metrichecked in one batch before PSM. This is consistent with the anecdotal evidence we have seen in herds that batch metricheck; more cows are treated but the treated cows have better in-calf rates. In order for the batch metricheck system to work, cows need to be clearly marked based on their calving date. Cows can be checked in batches from two weeks after calving.

If you find more than 2% of your herd metricheck positive then the metrichecking has paid for itself in improved reproductive performance in the treated cows!

Date Added: Wednesday, 5th August 2020