The 2021 breeding season is drawing to a close on the majority of spring-calving dairy herds so now is a good time to scan cows to determine how well it has gone.

An alterative way of determining if a cow is in-calf is through milk pregnancy testing.

Whatever method you use to determine if a cow is in-calf, it is better to confirm, than to just assume that a cow is in-calf.

Milk pregnancy testing

Milk pregnancy testing offers a quick and simple way to determine if a cow is or is not in-calf.

Testing can be done 28 days after artificial insemination (AI) to identify pregnant and non-pregnant cows. It offers farmers a quick and less time-consuming way of detecting pregnancy in cows.

But, it offers farmers very little information regarding a cow that turns out not to be in-calf at the conclusion of the breeding.


Completing a scan sooner rather than later will help to give you a better understanding of why a certain cow is not in-calf.

You may be able to recall a specific event that caused a certain cow not to be in-calf.

The middle part of the breeding season was stressful, with the weather causing farms to burn up and led many farms to run short of grass.

This was not only stressful for farmers, but also for cows – increased stress on cows during the early stages of pregnancy may lead to embryo loss.

Breeding season

For farms operating a 12-week breeding season, the season is due to end next week.

Unfortunately, for some of these cows, the breeding season will end before they are given another chance to be served. This is unless you extend your breeding season.

Determining how many cows are empty now, rather than in September or October, will help you to decide if you have enough heifers.