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Determine Cow Pregnancy Two Weeks after Breeding

Dairy Pipeline: April 1999

-- Extension Dairy Scientist Ray L. Nebel
Extension Dairy Scientist, Reproductive Management
Virginia Tech
(540) 231-4432

Determining if the cow is not pregnant two weeks after breeding! A new on-farm milk test is available that measures if a cow conceived and can be used as early as one week after breeding. Early Conception Factor (ECFTM) is a quick on-farm test that uses either blood serum or milk to determine if a small glycoprotein is present, which indicates that the cow did conceive. Using the pipette provided, one drop of milk is placed in the sample window of the test cassette, followed by the addition of 4 drops of wash buffer (also provided). The ECFTM cassette is then allowed to remain at room temperature for 45 minutes to 2 hours. The presence of two red lines, one each in the Control and Test areas indicates that the cow did conceive. The presence of only one red line in the Control area indicates that the cow is open. According to literature provided by Concepto Diagnostics, the company which makes and distributes the ECFTM test, over 1,250 cows have been tested with a 93 to 100% accuracy of detecting open cows when compared to rectal palpation of the uterus 32 to 45 days after breeding. A program to test cows two weeks after breeding and recycle open cows with a prostaglandin (Lutalyse® or EstrumateTM) is the real value of a test that identifies open cows 14 days after AI. Most producers, veterinarians, and university researchers are usually suspicious of any new test that detects something that before was not possible to measure. I will be testing the ECFTM test in a large field trial this spring and summer; however, many may not want to wait for our results. My suggestion is to order a 25 test kit ($125) and test the next 25 cows bred on the farm, comparing the results to pregnancy outcomes measured at vet check and by returns to estrus for cows that did not conceive.

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