Cattle pregnancy determination is now easier and more accurate than ever. It only requires a small sample of blood from the cow. This sample can be obtained from the tail by almost anyone with minimal training, not necessary to have a veterinary. The blood is placed in a red top blood tube. The sample does not require refrigeration. It can be sent through the US Mail to a lab. The results are available via email, fax, US Mail, or phone in 2-3 days with a 99% accuracy.
Some things that must be noted with this process: the cow must be greater than 70 days postpartum (after calving) otherwise a false positive will be shown, a new clean needle must be used for each cow to prevent cross contamination, the cattle and the blood need to be identified, and the cow must be bred greater than 28 days.
Cost of the blood test and supplies total about $3.00. The cost of keeping a non-pregnant cow for an additional year is over $350-$400 for most ranches. The cost of selling a pregnant cow by mistake and replacing her is more than $2000. The accuracy of the blood test can reduce these cost of production thereby increasing the profitability and sustainability of the livestock operation.
The down side of this blood test over the other methods of pregnancy diagnosis is that it takes a couple of days to obtain the results. The accuracy of the blood test is much greater than rectal palpation, especially at early stages of pregnancy allowing open cows to be identified and marketed as little as 35 days after the end of the breeding season. Ultrasound is the gold standard but requires a highly skilled technician and very expensive equipment.