The benefits of estimating fetal age in cows

An estimation of fetal age can help you better manage your calving season. Knowing the age of the fetus enables you to determine the stage of gestation.

 This in turn allows you to:

  • Observe cows around their projected due dates so that intervention can be provided when required; for example, a Caesarean can be performed on a cow with twins if necessary to improve the possibility of delivering two live calves
  • Sort cows into different feeding groups to optimize the nutrition they receive at each gestational stage
  • Optimize the dry period in dairy cattle to minimize the impact of negative energy balance in the immediate post-partum period which can impact milk yield

Fetal age is determined by measurements taken on an ultrasound image referencing an aging chart. There are four different measurements that you can use based on the view you see of the fetus. They are: trunk diameter, head diameter, crown rump length and head length.

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