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Progressive Dairyman's Top 15 most-read articles - Consider Portable Ultrasound to Maximize a Dairy's Returns

il y a 4 mois

Portable ultrasound technology is one of the next rising stars in dairy reproductive management programs. Karen Abbott outlined many of the benefits farms could achieve with its use. We asked:

What is the No. 1 reason producers should consider having a portable ultrasound machine on-farm?
It depends on whom you ask. Ask a producer who is comfortable breeding his own cows and has a comfort level with the reproductive anatomy; they will say the greatest benefit of using ultrasound is early, accurate pregnancy diagnosis.

Learning to manage pregnancy checks using ultrasound is straightforward and entirely possible.

There can be a great cost and time savings to managing the regular pregnancy checks.

Ultrasound confirms pregnancy as early as 27 days by showing a heartbeat; having this intelligence this early with this much certainty is very valuable.

Ask a veterinarian skilled in ultrasound, and they will say the greatest benefit is early identification of problem breeders.

Ultrasound opens up a whole new world over manual palpation because you can actually see the entire reproductive system.

Beyond fetal viability confirmation, you can determine fetal sex, age, ovarian cysts, reproductive pathologies, cycle stage and more.

A skilled ultrasound practitioner can get a tremendous amount of intelligence to assist producers to make the most of their synchronization programs and to better encourage pregnancies.

With the stress milking demands, top producers can be more difficult to get in calf.

Ultrasound can assist the highest-producing cows achieve timely pregnancies, which is incredibly beneficial.

Ask a veterinarian skilled in ultrasound scanning, and they will say the most exciting benefit to the farm is solving breeding problems and using this intelligence to enhance reproductive success.

—Karen Abbott, president of FarmTech Solutions, the exclusive distributor of Draminski Electronics in Agriculture for Canada
 

Technology to Enhance Breeding Success - Progressive Dairymen Canada

il y a 4 mois

With all the challenges producers face today, finding efficiencies and opportunities to enhance productivity are essential to remain competitive and profitable, and with so many advancements in technology, sometimes the options can seem overwhelming.

There are a few readily available tools that can make a difference to breeding programs without breaking the bank, your back – or your mind for that matter.

As reproduction is critical to profitability and even viability, using resources as efficiently as possible, enhancing breeding success rates and making better decisions sooner can really make a difference.

As technology continues toward better, smaller, faster and cheaper options, the options can be worth a new look.

When considering the two major areas of opportunity for a herd’s reproductive success, accurate estrus detection and early pregnancy diagnosis, readily available technology can help tremendously.

It goes without saying that the greatest limiting factor to successful fertilization is accurate estrus detection – the two key challenges being to accurately recognize estrus and identifying all possible estrus periods.

Estrus detection aids can offer immediate and accurate identification of cows in estrus, even in the case of “silent heat,” with minimal labour and expense.

It’s as simple as inserting a probe that measures the electrical resistance of vaginal mucous, determines forthcoming estrus and displays results on a small screen. In addition to detecting the best date to mate, they can also confirm early pregnancy (19 to 23 days following mating). If the animal is not pregnant, the device determines another estrous period.

Furthermore, if you only had a crystal ball to see into the future and help you make the best decisions in the present, that crystal ball would be a portable bovine ultrasound.

Unlike manual palpation, which works by feel alone, ultrasound allows you to actually see inside the animals and will tell you a great deal more, much sooner, for faster, better decisions during pregnancy checks to cull, sell or re-breed and get the most out of your breeding and feeding resources.

Ultrasound is the most accurate option to determine early pregnancy, fetal viability, twins and fetal sex. It confirms pregnancy immediately, can verify fetal sex after just two months of gestation and can be up to 95 percent accurate in twin diagnosis.

Fetal viability (you will see a heartbeat or not) can be confirmed as early as 27 days. Earlier and more accurate pregnancy detection allows for enhanced decision making to re-breed open animals quickly to maximize artificial insemination programs, improve overall fertility rates and reduce overhead costs.

Once expensive, cumbersome and fragile, machines today are practical and cost-effective. It is possible to have extremely durable, portable, lightweight options from $6,000 to $10,000 that are designed for use on the farm.

FarmTech Solutions does recommend training; trying to self-teach would be challenging and having someone familiar with ultrasound to show you the ropes would be necessary.

Overall advancements make today’s innovations truly better, smaller, faster and more affordable, and can be very effective tools for improving your herd’s reproductive efficiency and overall profitability.  PD


Karen Abbott
CEO
FarmTech Solutions

 

What Can Be Gained from On-Farm Ultrasound

il y a 4 mois

Ultrasound equipment has advanced to the point it is portable and affordable for individual farms to acquire. For some dairies, adoption of this technology could yield a high return on investment. For others, the returns may not be ideal.

Dr. Tom Wheal, co-owner of Oxford Bovine Veterinary Service, Beachville, Ontario, identified the pros and cons of adopting this technology on the farm during a seminar at the Canadian Dairy XPO on April 6 in Stratford, Ontario.

As a practicing veterinarian for 39 years, Wheal has taught his clients a variety of procedures they could do themselves. “I can’t help but think this cycle is turning again with ultrasound,” Wheal said.

“In the hands of a trained farmer, this has become a useful tool to bring more information to your present system,” he continued.

Ultrasound provides a way to see inside the cow without physically handling the uterus. It can also yield results earlier than a physical pregnancy exam.

“We are getting to the point we can rely on the diagnosed pregnancy as low as 26 days, particularly on heifers,” Wheal said.

After training farmers and other individuals in Canada and abroad, he said the stumbling block isn’t necessarily whether this technology can be used but, instead, how it will be applied.

“Learning to ultrasound is going to be useless unless you are going to change your reproductive program. This is really about checking your cows more often because you can,” he said.

Having ultrasound equipment on the farm provides the convenience of checking cows on your own schedule or between veterinary checks. It also allows for rechecks to occur at any time instead of waiting seven, 14 or 28 days for the veterinarian to visit.

“Monthly herd health checks are a problem because you’ll be checking cows bred over 45 days, and those cows really need to be checked in the 32-day range to find the open cows,” Wheal said.

For a number of reasons, veterinarians cannot always provide this service more than once a month.

“I’ve got some clients in under-serviced areas, and I can’t show up more often,” he said. Then there’s the fact they can’t get to every client on Monday. “And everyone would like to be seen on Monday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. We don’t have enough vets in the world to service that.”

By becoming trained in the use of ultrasound, producers can perform scans more than once a month.

“If you go from monthly to bi-weekly, you gain 14 days on your program,” Wheal said. “Fourteen days earlier you will be identifying open cows. So you are reducing your days open, and that can impact preg rate.”

Pregnancy or preg rate is the conception rate multiplied by the service rate. The current industry average is a pregnancy rate of 14 percent.

“If you’re at 14, you probably don’t have enough replacements, and you’ve probably got too many stale cows around,” he said.

Ideally, he would like to see his clients around 22 to 25 percent.

Increasing the rate of herd checks can have quite an impact on pregnancy rate. According to Wheal, changing from monthly to every other week can move a pregnancy rate up eight points on average. From every other week to weekly could move it three to four points. There is an economic advantage to every point increase in pregnancy rate.

In an example he provided for a 100-cow herd at a preg rate of 15 percent checking cows twice a month, by increasing to herd checks once a week it could gain a 5 percent increase in pregnancy rate.

Figuring $50 per cow per point, which is not a guaranteed number, that’s an increase of $25,000 for the farm. For those who might question the validity of that number, he said, even half of that per 100 cows is still a lot of money.

However, the higher the current preg rate, the less of an increase the farm could experience. In another example of a 100-cow farm at an 18 percent preg rate moving from every other week to weekly, he estimated a $20-per-cow increase per percentage point. In increasing to 21 percent, that’s only $6,000. Yet, if the herd was comprised of 300 cows, it would be $18,000.

“From a monetary standpoint, if you do your pregnancy checks more often, there is an economic gain to be had by finding open cows earlier. That’s the basis of increasing your pregnancy checks,” Wheal said.

That does depend on your current preg rates. He continued, “If you are down around 12 or 13 or 14 [percent], you need to think very hard about increasing the rate of your pregnancy checks. If you are at 25 or 26, I’m not having this discussion about profitability; there is none.”

That doesn’t mean a producer with a high pregnancy rate can’t learn how to ultrasound; it’s just a different discussion about what it might mean for the farm.

“We have clients who are technical people. They say, ‘I can do that’ or ‘I’d like to do that,’ and I’m all for those clients learning this technology,” Wheal said.

By encouraging interested producers to consider the use of ultrasound on their own, he is not suggesting producers cut their veterinarians out of their program.

“I believe this will enhance your relationship with your veterinarian in a positive way,” he said.

In fact, the first step he recommended was to talk with your veterinarian. Either work with them to learn how to use the technology or enroll in one- or two-day courses meant to teach producers how to ultrasound.

Once you physically master placing the probe inside the cow, which can be fairly easy, especially for someone who is used to breeding cows, learning to interpret the images can be difficult.

“It is very, very daunting the first time you see ultrasound images,” he said. “However, it is easy to train because it’s visual.”

The most important step is applying the knowledge gained from the ultrasound. Wheal said, “Sometimes we are so busy ultrasounding that we forget why we are doing it. We forget to apply the results.”

Of course, there are some roadblocks to adopting this technology.

“This is a commitment,” he said. “It takes training, and you can’t get discouraged.”

He has clients who purchased these units but never used them because they were not committed to it.

Another roadblock is not sticking to a consistent schedule. If you are willing to skip a herd check to cut alfalfa, this may not be for you. “If you’re not prepared to stay on schedule, and a very strict schedule, it’s not going to work,” he said.

Labour shortages can affect whether or not this can be useful. For some farms, it may be better to continue to pay the veterinarian for this service instead of agreeing to take on another task.

Wheal advised anyone considering this to take a look at where they are today and determine if there is room for improvement.

“In reality, if you’re at 23, 24 or 25 [percent], you’re probably where you need to be and the economics of adopting ultrasound would be pretty slim,” he said.

The economics may work out better on larger farms, but small farms can sometimes benefit more because they typically get the least number of visits from veterinarians.

As more dairy producers adopt this technology, it can free up veterinarians to focus on other areas and advance the relationship with their clients.

“We’re slowly looking for ways to pass off this very technical activity we’ve been busy with for the last 10 years and moving on to other very important things on farms we should be concentrating on,” Wheal said.  

Dr. Tom Wheal presented this information on behalf of FarmTech Solutions. For more information on ultrasound equipment and training, visit their website www.farmtechsolutions.com or call (800) 672-9182.

Karen Lee

Editor

Progressive Dairyman

Email Karen Lee

 

Articles

Consider Portable Ultrasound to Maximize Dairy Returns - Progressive Dairymen Canada

il y a 4 mois

With all of the challenges present for producers today, the task of continuing to find efficiencies and opportunities to enhance productivity are essential to remain competitive and profitable.

The next rising star is incorporating portable bovine ultrasound into the dairy’s reproductive management programs. Unlike manual palpation, which works by feel alone, ultrasound allows you to actually see inside the animals and will tell you a great deal more much sooner.
 

Specifically, portable bovine ultrasound offers the following advantages:

Significantly improve the accuracy of information learned during pregnancy checking. Ultrasound is dramatically more accurate than manual palpation at determining fetal viability, number of fetuses, fetal sex and fetal age.
 

Using ultrasound for pregnancy checks is easier on the practitioner, as well as the animals, making for shorter and less-strenuous work and a reduction in lost fetuses due to manually handling the uterus.
 

Earlier and more accurate pregnancy detection, as early as 27 days, allows for enhanced decision-making to re-breed open animals very quickly to maximize artificial insemination programs, improve overall fertility rates and reduce overhead costs.
 

Fetal viability can be confirmed as early as 27 days and gender determination as early as 55 days.
 

More accurate cycle stage detection for use with timed artificial insemination program.
 

Increase the speed at which the pregnancy checks are managed by 20 percent, depending on the skill level of the practitioner.
 

Improved fertility through more effective culling and marketing of problem breeders.
 

Diagnosis of ovarian and uterine abnormalities, depending on skill of the practitioner.
 

Reduced overhead costs – more effective use of time, labour, facilities and resources. More effective use of resources like semen, injections, etc., with timed A.I. programs.

Why portable bovine ultrasound?
Pregnancy checking animals is an important and valuable decision-making tool.

Ultrasound allows you to see inside animals by passing the ultrasound transducer into the rectum.

Once placed over the reproductive tract, the ultrasound machine will display a black-and-white image of the ovary or uterus.

With manual palpation, your arm enters the rectum and examines the reproductive tract by “feel,” whereby the ultrasound image allows you to see the uterus and ovaries and therefore much greater detail and accuracy.

The most practical uses of ultrasound in reproductive management are to more quickly and accurately diagnose pregnancy much earlier, determine fetal age and fetal sex.

Once very expensive, cumbersome and fragile, technological advancements have made the machines very practical and cost-effective. It is now possible to have extremely durable, portable, lightweight and affordable options for field use to greatly enhance breeding proficiency.

Two other diagnostic tools are available to assess the reproductive tract and diagnose pregnancy – rectal palpation and blood tests. When performed by a skilled practitioner, ultrasound can be a faster and cheaper tool.

Ultrasound vs. pregnancy blood tests
With a pregnancy blood test, you are testing for a protein produced when there is a pregnancy. This protein stays around long after a fetus has died or a cow has calved, which leads to calling more cows pregnant than actually are.

Ultrasound has the advantage of visualizing the fetus and determining viability (fetus has a heartbeat that you can see) immediately.

Blood pregnancy tests only tell you pregnant or open, whereas the ultrasound can offer much more information. Blood pregnancy tests require drawing blood, sending off the samples, waiting for the test results and then managing steps to get the cow re-bred if open.

This requires a number of steps, which demand extra labour and time. With ultrasound, you are provided with results instantly, allowing you to take steps to get the cow re-bred much sooner if she is found open.

How ultrasound works in a breeding program

Early pregnancy detection – Ultrasound allows for early pregnancy diagnosis and has been reported to be 100 percent accurate as early as 20 days after breeding cattle. It is suggested for best results to wait until day 25 to 30 of pregnancy to best detect an embryo.

By this time, the embryos are a little larger and more easily spotted in the ultrasound image. Ultrasound can be used to reliably detect pregnancy at 30 days of gestation to assist producers in capturing more returns, whereas manual exams require an additional seven days.

Earlier determination of open cows means fewer missed estrous cycles and opportunity to quickly re-breed cows after insemination.

Fetal mortality – Rechecking pregnant cows to assure fetal viability is essential, as an embryonic death rate above 13 percent is common in the industry. Embryonic death typically occurs between conception and 60 to 70 days gestation. With ultrasound, dead fetuses can be detected as early as 26 to 55 days.

Some cows do not expel a dead fetus for months. Late detection of a dead embryo or fetus with manual palpation will result in the cycle of the cow being missed and a loss of profit.

Detecting twins – Twinning rates continue to increase in the industry, affecting milk yields and reproductive performance, especially in high-production cows. Ultrasound can be up to 95 percent accurate in twin diagnosis.
 

Fetal sexing – Determining the sex of the fetus can be done after two months of gestation. Even with the use of sexed semen, there are still many cattle carrying bull calves. Being able to identify which animals are carrying females will allow producers to make better decisions.
 

Fertility and ovarian structure – Timed A.I. programs are more prevalent in today’s dairy herds; the use of ultrasound with timed A.I. programs can dramatically improve a herd’s conception rate. Using ultrasound to diagnose cows not responding to timed A.I. allows you to remove animals to save the expense of semen, drug and labour costs being wasted on non-responding cows.

Only breeding cows responding to your synchronization program greatly improves your conception rates and the herd’s pregnancy rates. Ultrasound is the only way to accurately assess corpus luteum and ovarian structures.

A limiting factor in such programs is the inability to get semen into cows at the right time. Ultrasound provides great detail in determining fertility by viewing the corpus luteum and ovaries, depending on the practitioner’s skill level.

Pregnancy checking animals using ultrasound allows earlier detection of pregnancy than rectal palpation for a quick response time to re-breed open cows, confirm fetal viability, confirm fetal sex and is overall an effective tool in herd management to improve reproductive efficiency and overall profitability.

As it reduces the handling of the reproductive tract, it reduces the risk of embryonic death when searching for early pregnancies. Early and accurate pregnancy diagnosis enables the movement of pregnant animals, decreasing feeding costs.

Early detection allows for the sale of “open” animals into a yearling market, which allows for greater returns for animals that may otherwise be culled and conserves grazing resources by removing nonproductive animals, improving overall fertility rates and thus profitability.

Once very expensive, cumbersome and fragile, technological advancements have made the machines very practical and cost-effective. It is now possible to have extremely durable, portable, lightweight and affordable options for field use to greatly enhance efficiency and accuracy in diagnosing pregnancies.

While a high-quality portable scanner will cost between $6,000 to $10,000, the cost can be recouped quickly with use and the accompanying benefits.

Systems are now available specifically designed for use on the farm for reproductive management and do not include all of the sophisticated (and more expensive) bells and whistles that a professional veterinarian would demand. More simple, very practical units are available for less than $7,000.  PD

PHOTO
Ultrasound can be a powerful diagnostic tool when incorporated into a dairy’s reproductive management. Photo courtesy of FarmTech Solutions.

Karen Abbott

Co-Founder

FarmTech Solutions

ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGY ON THE FARM - The Milk Producer

il y a 4 mois

A practical and convenient tool when you need timely information to make informed management decisions

If you want to learn more about ultrasound use on your pregnant and open cows and what the technology can bring to your operation no matter the size, you’ll want to turn to Farm Tech Solutions Inc. This multi-faceted company aims to address the growing interest producers have about this new technology. It will share some of the leading benefits ultrasound offers producers, and provide an overview of the primary uses of ultrasound, such as determining pregnant or open cows and identifying ready-to-breed animals.

Farm Tech Solutions Inc. will be offering live demonstrations every 30 minutes in the Milk House next to Hall 2, starting at 1:30 p.m. on April 6. Dr. Tom Wheal will be demonstrating ultrasound techniques and reviewing the images live on a screen for groups of 10 to 12 people. Participants will have the opportunity to view early- and late-stage pregnancies at various gestational phases, as well as open and ready-to-breed cows.

The company has been proudly participating in CDX since 2014, and has hosted its two-day bovine reproductive ultrasound training course following CDX in previous years. Farm Tech Solutions Inc. is excited to be offering participants the opportunity to learn more about ultrasound technology in a small group setting to ask questions and see for themselves what the ultrasound images look like and how to interpret what they are seeing.

Producers will have a better understanding about the use of ultrasound on their own farms and how they can readily adapt the technology as a best practice. Ultrasound is practical and convenient when you need timely information to make decisions independently on your schedule and, when applied on your farm, results in improved success in reproductive programs.

By Sharon Laidlaw, editor Milk Producer

 

For do-it-yourselfers pregnancy-checking dairy cows

il y a 4 mois

Virtually anyone can be trained to detect pregnancies in dairy cows for the sake of convenience and possibly earlier detection of open cows 

 

BY BOB REID - Ontario Farmer

 

S tratford – Farmers like to do things for themselves either as a means of cutting costs or for the experience. When it comes to pregnancy checking cows, an Oxford County based veterinarian is more than willing to pass that task along. Dr. Tom Wheal established the Oxford Bovine Veterinary Clinic in 1998, the only clinic specializing in dairy cattle in Ontario. In more recent years he began devoting his time and energies to training farmers to diagnose pregnancies. Detecting pregnancies can then not only be made more convenient to the farmer’s schedule but it will allow open cows to be identified sooner so they can be rebred and get back in production sooner. “I began to teach farmers the things I no longer wanted to do,” said Dr. Wheal. He was part of the guest speaker line up at the recent Canadian Dairy Expo (CDX) in Stratford. “It (pregnancy check) doesn’t create pregnancies,” said Wheal but it will enhance a reproductive program. Neither does it cut out the option of working with a veterinarian as needed. Dr. Wheal works collaboratively with FarmTech Solutions as an education resource person. The company has business locations in Montreal and Vancouver, supplying a line of on-farm ultra sound equipment providing various pregnancy detection options. FarmTech was an exhibitor at the CDX, providing ultra sounding equipment for a series of hands-on workshops conducted by Dr. Wheal during the twoday trade show. The iScan model featured in the workshops is fully waterproof and can be washed off and stored away in a case at the end of the work day. A charged battery will last for the length of a regular work day.. The iScan retails for $9,750 CAD. “The inside of a cow is a dark place that is keeping you (farmers) in the dark,” said Wheal. Diagnostic equipment is available for on-farm use that gives a vision of what is going in within the uterus that anyone – with some training – can interpret. As such it is possible to determine if a cow is pregnant as early as 22 days. However, Dr. Wheal suggested the technology is useless unless farmers with poor conception rates are willing to change their reproductive program. Conception rate is determined by the number of pregnant c ows d iv id e d by t o t a l inseminations. Further, the pregnancy rate equals the percentage of cows eligible to become pregnant that actually do become pregnant in a given time period. The industry average in Ontario for pregnancy rate is 14 per cent whereas the goal should be 20-25 per cent, said Dr. Wheal. He suggested changing the interval on pregnancy checking from a month to every two weeks could increase pregnancy rates by eight per cent. Based on a 100-cow herd, an increase in pregnancy rate of 5 per cent would translate to $25,000 increase in earnings f r o m i n c r e a s e d m i l k production.. Dr. Wheal suggested a three stage approach in the training course: find what you want to see; interpret what you see; use the knowledge to impact results. A credit-card-sized viewing screen will give a view of the foetus as it would appear cut down the middle. A small handheld camera is inserted into the uterus with the viewing screen either worn like a pair of glasseson the operator or held separately with a free hand. The dense amniotic fluid is black while the lighter density foetus is a lighter color. By 60 days into a pregnancy body parts such as a spinal cord or hooves are visible. If a dairy herd is already at the 25 per cent pregnancy rate there is likely little chance of getting a good return on the investment in ultra sounding equipment through improved performance, suggested Dr. Wheal. He also noted that a commitment in timely use of the ultra sounding equipment is essential to create improved results in a breeding program. “Leaving the ultra sounding equipment lying around on farm to collect dust will not be helpful,” said Dr. Wheal. At the same time, virtually anyone willing to make a commitment to learning the technique can do pregnancy checks, he added.

Using his method, Dr Wheal says it is possible to determine if a cow is pregnant as early as 22 days.

Ultrasound Purchase Hinges on Your Pregnancy Rate

il y a 4 mois

Dairy ultrasound purchase hinges on pregnancy rate

Posted May. 4th, 2017 by John Greig

1

Anyone can learn to use ultrasound on their dairy farm, but producers need to know their reproduction numbers to financially justify the purchase.

Dr. Tom Wheal of FarmTech Solutions, a provider of ultrasound technology for farms, told farmers at the Canadian Dairy Xpo that the first step to determining the value of ultrasound on their farm is to know their pregnancy rate.

Wheal says that increasing the frequency of pregnancy checks can significantly help improve the number of pregnancies on a farm. Reproductive efficiency will then determine payback on an ultrasound machine.

Portable and easy to operate ultrasound machines are commonly used on many livestock farms, including hog, beef and dairy.

However, most dairy farmers have their cows checked for pregnancy by ultrasound by veterinarians every two weeks or a month.

Wheal says veterinarians are increasingly willing to pass manual tasks that can be learned by most people, like ultrasound, onto others, so they can concentrate their time on areas where they can have greater value.

However, he says, they should first talk to their veterinarian before buying an ultrasound machine to discuss how it will fit into the farm operation.

“Before you can talk about the economics of ultrasound use, you have to know what your preg rate is and have to understand what it is,” Wheal says.

Pregnancy rate is defined as the percentage of cows on a farm that are eligible to become pregnant that do become pregnant within a given time.

Wheal says to calculate pregnancy rate, take a farm’s conception rate multiplied by heat detection rate.

“It’s the current number we have to judge how efficient you are.”

The industry average is 14 percent, a number at which a farm is likely having a difficult time producing enough heifers to replace its cows.

Better is closer to 22 to 25 percent, he says.

Wheal says changing from twice monthly to weekly pregnancy checks can improve pregnancy rate by about five percentage points.

On a 100-cow farm, with a 15 percent pregnancy rate, moving it to 20 percent can mean saving about $25,000 per year.

Ultrasound testing has its greatest impact in helping increase the frequency of pregnancy checking.

If a farmer owns an ultrasound machine, he can check pregnancies with less cost than paying for another visit from a veterinarian.

Wheal says he has seen too many ultrasound machines gather dust on farms, and there are three main barriers to their use.

The first is a lack of commitment. Don’t get discouraged, says Wheal, and make sure there is enough training.

“It’s very daunting the first time you see an ultrasound image,” he says, but he has seen people with many levels of ability trained.

Stick to a schedule, he says. Producers should pick one day a week to do the testing and remain committed to doing it.

A third barrier is labour. Wheal says many farms have no extra labour to hire or labour flexibility with current staff.

Fear of using the technology shouldn’t be a barrier, says Wheal, especially if a farm already has employees who breed their cows.

Those staff members are already familiar with a cow’s reproductive physiology and can transfer that knowledge to using an ultrasound machine.

The more important factor is whether or not an ultrasound machine can help improve the pregnancy rate.

If the pregnancy rate is already near 25 percent, then an ultrasound machine will have little effect on that rate. But if the pregnancy rate is 14 or 15 percent, then Wheal says it’s a technology worth considering.

You can learn more about FarmTech Solutions on their website at www.farmtechsolutions.com

Consider Portable Ultrasound to Maximize Dairy Returns - Featured in Progressive Dairymen

2014-06-04

Here is the link: 

http://progressivedairycanada.com/topics/a-i-breeding/consider-portable-ultrasound-to-maximize-dairy-returns

Considering Portable Ultrasound for your Mixed or Large Animal Practice - Ultrasound for Veterinarians - Why You Should

2014-06-03

Considering Portable Ultrasound for Your Mixed or Large Animal Practice?
Here's Why You Should.

Considering ways in which to enhance your practices services and revenues? Save time? Reduce the wear and tear on your body and modernize your offerings to your customers? In light of the advances in technology over the last few years the ultrasound systems of before are not at all the systems of today and can offer your practice many benefits and a very good return on investment. Not to mention greatly assist in reducing the strain on your body due to the physical demands of manually palpating a significant number of animals during pregnancy checking season.

It is a well known fact, that vet’s who manage large numbers of manual palpations find it physically demanding and considering women now account for up to 85% of new graduates in veterinary medicine, the average height of veterinarians is decreasing, making it even more challenging to palpate so many animals in a short period of time. Systems today also offer ‘introducers’ by which the probe is inserted via an extender so that you do not have to use your arm and thereby allowing for less physically demanding, easier and faster scanning. Using affordable and available technology to overcome these occupational difficulties while modernizing your practice and increasing returns is entirely attainable.

Today’s portable systems offer all of the features of the larger, more expensive systems while also providing full mobility. It is much easier to transport a portable ultrasound system weighing less than 5 pounds with a battery life of 5 hours or more to the animals to diagnose instantly on site, rather than transporting the animals to the systems for diagnosis at the clinic or hospital. This of course reduces the stress on the animals and your clients. Providing diagnosis on site is much more efficient and builds client trust and loyalty.

Once very expensive, cumbersome and fragile, technological advancements have made the machines very practical and cost effective. It is now possible to have extremely durable, portable, lightweight and affordable options for field use to greatly enhance efficiency and accuracy in diagnosing pathologies and pregnancies. While previous ‘mobile’ systems were still bulky, fragile and expensive the smaller, truly portable options lacked the image quality of their larger counterparts. It is now possible to have a fully mobile, robust system with outstanding image quality weighing in at less than five pounds.

Considering, with manual palpation, you are working by feel alone, ultrasound gives you highly detailed images to view, allowing you to fully see inside the animals with great detail. Reproductive ultrasound is fast becoming the standard of practice over palpation and rightfully so. Even the most skilled palpators are not as accurate as an ultrasound when it comes to identifying small follicles, follicular vs. luteal cysts, unilateral twins or pregnancies that are in the process of being lost. It is faster than manual palpation and is easier and less stressful on the animals as well as the practitioner. With ultrasound, usually there is no retraction of the uterus required, which results in much less strain on the neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrist, which reduces injury and prolongs careers.

Outside of reproductive diagnostics, ultrasound offers great detail and accuracy for equine eye and tendon examinations as well as significant ease in detecting many other internal pathologies.

These systems are strapped close to your bodyand do not require wires or carts like in the past, this makes them very easy and lightweight to use
in the field, but also avoids the complications of animals potentially getting tangled in wires and harming themselves or the systems.

Scanning at the point of care assists vet's in developing and nurturing strong client relationships, builds customer loyalty and ultimately allows for greater efficiency and revenues.

While a high-quality portable scanner will cost close to $10,000, the cost can be recouped in as little as six months and most certainly a practices fee structures can now be adjusted with the additional service benefits offered providing a good return on investment in a short period of time. Scanners today have numerous advantages technically such as the ability to record, save and transfer images and video of scans right to your computer, which of course can be emailed to a specialist for another opinion.

FarmTech Solutions proudly serves Canada’s veterinarians with innovative technologies.
Specializing in the absolute best in compact, portable, lightweight animal ultrasounds for pregnancy and pathology detection, ideal for bovine field
diagnostics. We have sourced the ultimate solution in ultrasound technology to provide you with fully portable, high quality, European designed and manufactured, extremely durable systems with the best image quality.

It might be time to consider upgrading a dated system for today's much smaller, lighter, durable options or incorporating the most up to date technology to advance your practice and best serve your customers whether it is at the clinic, hospital, in the field or all of the above. Today's systems can easily fit on the front seat of your car and are sturdy enough to simply be hosed off after use and put back in the case ready for
your next visit.

More and more clients are seeking the accuracy that ultrasound offers and are willing to pay for it, even demand it.
Ultrasound is gaining much popularity and truly is on the cutting edge of veterinary practice when beginning a career in the field and certainly to offer the best possible services to clients.

Karen Abbott, 

FarmTech Solutions - Ultrasound and Diagnostics

karen@farmtechsolutions.com

1-800-672-9182
 

Simple Technology to Enhance Breeding Success and Improve Farm Economics - Published in Progressive Dairymen - June 2014 Issue

2014-06-03

Simple Technology to Enhance Breeding Success and Improve Farm Economics


With all the challenges producers face today, finding efficiencies and opportunities to enhance productivity are essential to
remain competitive and profitable and with so many advancements in technology, sometimes the options can seem
overwhelming. There are a few, readily available tools that can make a difference to breeding programs without breaking
the bank, your back or your mind for that matter.


As reproduction is critical to profitability and even viability, using resources as efficiently as possible, enhancing breeding
success rates, and making better decisions sooner can really make a difference. As technology continues toward better,
smaller, faster and cheaper options, the options can be worth a new look.


When considering the two major areas of opportunity for a herd’s reproductive success are accurate estrus detection and
early pregnancy diagnosis, readily available technology can help tremendously.
It goes without saying that the greatest limiting factor to successful fertilization is accurate estrus detection. The two key
challenges being to accurately recognize estrus and identifying all possible estrus periods. Estrus detection aids can offer
immediate and accurate identification of cows in estrus, even in the case of ‘silent heat’ with minimal labour and expense.

It’s as simple as inserting a probe that measures the electrical resistance of vaginal mucous, determines forthcoming
estrus and displays results on a small screen. In addition to detecting the best date to mate, they can also confirm early
pregnancy (19 to 23 days following mating). If the animal is not pregnant, the device determines another estrous period.
Furthermore if you only had a crystal ball to see into the future to help you make the best decisions in the present, that
crystal ball would be a portable bovine ultrasound. Unlike manual palpation which works by feel alone, ultrasound allows
you to actually see inside the animals and will tell you a great deal more, much sooner; for faster, better decisions during
pregnancy checks to cull, sell or rebreed and get the most out of your breeding and feeding resources.


Ultrasound is the most accurate option to determine early pregnancy, fetal viability, twins, and fetal sex. It confirms
pregnancy immediately, can verify fetal sex after just two months of gestation and can be up to 95% accurate in twin
diagnosis. Fetal viability (you will see a heartbeat or not) can be confirmed as early as 27 days. Earlier and more accurate
pregnancy detection allows for enhanced decision making to rebreed open animals quickly to maximize artificial
insemination programs, improve overall fertility rates and reduce overhead costs.
Once expensive, cumbersome and fragile, machines today are practical and cost effective. It is possible to have extremely
durable, portable, lightweight options from $6,000 - $10,000 that are designed for use on the farm. FarmTech Solutions
does recommend training, trying to self-teach would be challenging and having someone familiar with ultrasound to show
you the ropes would be necessary.

Overall advancements make todays innovations truly better, smaller, faster and more affordable and can be very effective
tools for improving your herds reproductive efficiency and overall profitability.


Karen Abbott, CEO
FarmTechSolutions
karen@farmtechsolutions.com
www.farmtechsolutions.com
1 800 672 9182

Benefits of Ultrasound - Dairy Producers - Published in Progressive Dairymen July 2013 Issue

2014-06-03

Considering Portable Ultrasound to Maximize Your Dairy’s Returns? Here’s Why You Should.

With all of the challenges presented producers today, the task of continuing to find efficiencies and opportunities to enhance productivity are essential to remain competitive and profitable. The next rising star is incorporating portable bovine ultrasound into the dairy’s reproductive management programs. Unlike manual palpation which works by feel alone, ultrasound allows you to actually see inside the animals and will tell you a great deal more, much sooner.
Specifically, portable bovine ultrasound offers many advantages to a dairy’s bottom line such as:


Significantly improve the accuracy of information learned during pregnancy checking. Ultrasound is dramatically more accurate than manual palpation at determining fetal viability, number of fetuses, fetal sex, and fetal age.


Using ultrasound for pregnancy check’s is much easier on the practitioner as well as the animals, making for shorter and less strenuous work and a reduction in lost fetuses due to manually handling the uterus.


Earlier and more accurate pregnancy detection as early as 27 days, allows for enhanced decision making to rebreed open animals very quickly to maximize artificial insemination programs, improve overall fertility rates and reduce overhead costs.


Fetal viability can be confirmed as early as 27 days and gender determination as early as 55 days.

More accurate cycle stage detection for use with timed artificial insemination program.

Increase the speed at which the pregnancy checks are managed by 20%, to make for a much faster, more efficient system of pregnancy checking herds. Depending on the skill level of the practitioner.

Improved fertility - more effective culling and marketing of problem breeders.

Diagnosis of ovarian and uterine abnormalities. Depending on the skill of the practitioner.

Reduced overhead costs - more effective use of time, labour, facilities and resources. More effective use of resources (semen, injections, etc., with timed AI programs.

WHY PORTABLE BOVINE ULTRASOUND?
Pregnancy checking the animals is an important and valuable decision making tool. Ultrasound allows you to see inside the animals by passing the ultrasound transducer into the rectum, once placed over the reproductive tract, the ultrasound machine will display a black and white image of the ovary or uterus and will reveal far more detail than a traditional rectal palpation which works by feel alone. With manual palpation your arm enters the rectum and examines the reproductive tract by "feel,” whereby the ultrasound image allows you to see the uterus and ovaries and therefore much greater detail and accuracy. Ultrasound is the most accurate tool for evaluating the reproductive tract and is the most effective diagnostic pregnancy tool to improve reproductive efficiency on the farm.
The most practical uses of ultrasound in reproductive management are to more quickly and accurately diagnose pregnancy much earlier, determine fetal age and fetal sex. Once very expensive, cumbersome and fragile, technological advancements have made the machines very practical and cost effective. It is now possible to have extremely durable, portable, lightweight and affordable options for field use to greatly enhance breeding proficiency.

Currently there are 2 other diagnostic tools to assess the reproductive tract and diagnose pregnancy, those being rectal palpation and blood tests. Ultrasound is far superior, faster and cheaper ultimately in doing these things when performed by a skilled practitioner than either rectal palpation or blood pregnancy tests.

Ultrasound Benefits over Pregnancy Blood Tests
With a pregnancy blood test, you are testing for a protein that is produced when there is a pregnancy. This protein stays around long after a fetus has died or a cow has calved, which leads to calling more cows pregnant than actually are. Ultrasound has the advantage of visualizing the fetus and determining viability (fetus has a heart beat that you can see) immediately.
Blood pregnancy tests only tell you pregnant or open whereby the ultrasound can offer much more valuable information. Blood pregnancy tests require drawing blood, sending off the samples, waiting for the test results, and then managing steps to get the cow rebred if open. This requires a number of steps, which demand extra labor and time. With ultrasound you are provided with more and better information instantly, allowing you to take steps to get the cow rebred much sooner if she is found open.
 

Why Using Ultrasound in a Breeding Program is Important


Early Pregnancy Detection
Ultrasound allows for early pregnancy diagnosis and has been reported to be 100% accurate as early as 20 days after breeding cattle. It is suggested for best results to wait until day 25 to 30 of pregnancy to best detect an embryo. By this time the embryos are a little larger and more easily spotted in the ultrasound image. Ultrasound can be used to reliably detect pregnancy at 30 days of gestation to assist producers in capturing more returns, whereas manual exams require an additional seven days. Earlier determination of open cows means fewer missed estrous cycles and opportunity to quickly rebreed cows after insemination.

Fetal Mortality
Rechecking pregnant cows to assure fetal viability is essential as an embryonic death rate above 13% is common in the industry. Embryonic death typically occurs between conception and 60-70 days gestation. With ultrasound dead fetuses can be detected as early as 26-55 days. Some cows do not expel dead fetus for months. Late detection of a dead embryo or fetus with manual palpation will result in the cycle of the cow being missed and a loss of profit.

Detecting Twins
Detecting twins is another benefit of ultrasound as twinning rates continue to increase in the industry affecting milk yields and reproductive performance, especially in high milk production cows. Ultrasound can be up to 95% accurate in twin diagnosis.

Fetal Sexing
Another immediate benefit of ultrasound is determining the sex of the fetus, which can be done after two months of gestation. Even with the use of sexed semen, there are still many cattle carrying bull calves. Being able to identify which animals are carrying females will allow producers to make better decisions.

Fertility and Ovarian Structure
Timed AI programs are more prevalent in today’s dairy herds, the use of ultrasound with timed AI programs can dramatically improve a herds conception rate. Using ultrasound to diagnose cows that are not responding to timed AI allows you to remove animals to save the expense of semen, drug and labour costs being wasted on non-responding cows. Only breeding the cows responding to your synchronization program greatly improves your conception rates and the herds pregnancy rates. Ultrasound is the only way to accurately assess corpus luteum and ovarian structures. A limiting factor in such programs is the inability to get semen into cows at the right time, ultrasound provides great detail in determining fertility by viewing the corpus luteum and ovaries (depending on the skill level of practitioner).
 

OVERALL ADVANTAGES OF BOVINE ULTRASOUND
Pregnancy checking animals using ultrasound offers numerous advantages over rectal palpation as it allows earlier detection of pregnancy for a quick response time to rebreed open cows, con¿rm fetal viability, con¿rm fetal sex and is overall an effective tool in herd management to improve reproductive ef¿ciency and overall pro¿tability. As it reduces the handling of the reproductive tract it reduces the risk of embryonic death when searching for early pregnancies. Early and accurate pregnancy diagnosis enables the movement of pregnant animals decreasing feeding costs. Early detection allows for the sale of the “open” animals into a yearling market which allows for greater returns for animals that may otherwise be culled and conserves grazing resources by removing nonproductive animals, improving overall fertility rates and thus pro¿tability.
Once very expensive, cumbersome and fragile, technological advancements have made the machines very practical and cost effective. It is now possible to have extremely durable, portable, lightweight and affordable options for field use to greatly enhance efficiency and accuracy in diagnosing pregnancies. While a high-quality portable scanner will cost between $6,000 to $10,000, the cost can be recouped quickly with use and the accompanying benefits. Systems are now available that are specifically designed for use on the farm for reproductive management and do not include all of the sophisticated (and more expensive) bells and whistles that a professional veterinarian would demand. More simple, very practical units are available for under $5,000.

Karen Abbott, CEO FarmTech Solutions

www.farmtechsolutions.com

1-800-672-9182

karen@farmtechsolutions.com

Collaboration

FarmTech Solutions is Looking for Partners

2014-06-03

FarmTech Solutions builds and grows prosperous opportunities together with our Network Partners in strategic markets with solutions for animal health and reproduction, crop and soil conditions, and farm innovations. Focused on maximizing value for the end-user, FarmTech Solutions partners with like-minded businesses and specialists to ensure an excellent customer experience at all stages and points of contact. We help farmers, breeders and vets improve animal health, increase productivity and lower losses using practical technology solutions and full-service support.

Whatever it takes to help you connect valued solutions to your customer needs is our aim.

Who Should Apply

IF YOU SHARE SIMILAR VALUES (HELPING IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR FARMERS, BREEDERS OR VETS) AND HAVE EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THESE CUSTOMERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY, THEN OUR PARTNER OR SPECIALIST PROGRAM MAY BE RIGHT FOR YOU.

SOME EXAMPLES OF GREAT-FIT PARTNERS IN OUR NETWORK INCLUDE:

  • AGRICULTURAL RETAIL STORES/FARM SUPPLY
  • LIVESTOCK REPRODUCTIVE / GENETIC CONSULTANTS
  • AGRONOMISTS
  • WELL-CONNECTED BREEDERS/PRODUCERS
  • AGRICULTURE SALES REPRESENTATIVES
  • GROWERS, NURSERY/GREENHOUSE SUPPLY
  • VETERINARIANS, VETERINARY CLINICS AND HOSPITALS

YOU CHOOSE THE BEST-FIT PROGRAM FOR YOU

With two Partner Programs to choose from, you decide which model is best aligned with your preferred business approach:

NETWORK PARTNER

Full service interaction with your Customers, including informing, product demos, facilitating the sale transaction and fulfilling the order from your on-hand inventory.

Network Partners earn a bigger slice of the pie for their greater involvement. This is a perfect fit for existing retail operations that have Customer relationships, physical locations and an aligned business model.

SPECIALIST

A matchmaker role whereby one creates opportunities, manages customer relationships and provides solution-focused sales.

No need to hold inventory or fulfill orders, we’ll take care of it for you. This is a great complimentary activity to an existing service or role. For example, an Equine Reproductive Specialist would be well-positioned to sell Estrous Detectors to their clientele.

Our Promises

We Partner with Like-Minded Businesses and Individuals Who Can Always Expect the Following from FarmTech Solutions:

WE SUPPORT YOUR SUCCESS

Learn More

https://www.farmtechsolutions.com/become-a-dealer/