Pregnancy testing beef cows now a priority due to high hay costs

Beef cow/calf producers should pregnancy test cows now, to avoid wasting feed resources and decreasing profits. Open cows should be sold immediately.

The cost of keeping beef cows through the upcoming winter will be more expensive than at any other time. Hay and grain prices are at historic highs. The cost to feed open cows this winter will have a greater impact on profitability than ever before.

Beef cow/calf producers should consider pregnancy testing cows this fall a high priority. Producers can expect hay costs to total at least $225 to feed a cow for five months. Producers that are short of pasture and have already started feeding hay can expect that number to be much higher. Beef producers that are feeding hay already, should have already pregnancy tested for their winter and spring calving herds.

Frank Wardynski, ruminant extension educator with Michigan State University Extension indicates that keeping open cows through the winter will decrease profits and waste valuable feed resources. Producers with adequate feed resources will have the ability to sell open cows and replace them with pregnant cows, if so desired. Replacing the open females can be done with only an extra $100-300, over the value of an average flesh market cow.

Feed resources of any kind are highly valuable this year. Wasting them on open cows that are going to be unproductive next year will decrease profits. For more information regarding the importance of pregnancy testing, contact Frank Wardynski at


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