Cattle farmers throw good money away
GIVING away money sounds like a pretty dumb move to any farmer, but it happens surprisingly often when cows go to market.
Sean Hammond of Catagra Goup was at Beef Expo in Toowoomba last week and said it was a common mistake for farmers to pull what they thought were empty cows out of the paddock and send them off to the saleyards only for another farmer to get the added bonus of calves nobody knew were there.
He said it was the main reason behind the recent upsurge in producers and feedlots picking up ultrasound units to test the herd, much like the Repro-scan units he had on display.
Where farmers had to wait until two-and-a-half to three months to test their females manually, often missing calves in the process, ultrasound technology could pick up calves from about 30 days into pregnancy, allowing farmers to put their best breeders on better fodder and sell off the empty cows without worrying so much about giving away free money.
“You can make a management call on these animals a lot earlier,” he said.
“As a case study, I preg tested 50 head of cattle that were all tested manually and all found to be empty,” he said.
“I found 15 young pregnancies, so about $6000 worth of calves alone, and it happens all the time.”
He said it took about 400 head and one year for most people to get a 40 per cent return on buying an ultrasound unit.
He said feedlots were increasingly turning to the technology as well as cattle farmers and learning to use the equipment was easy.
BE CERTAIN: Sean Hammond believes farmers are giving away free calves by not using an ultrasound machine to preg test cows before selling them.