BCI Explains: Pregnancy Analytics

By Shelby Mettlen, communications and marketing specialist

“Reproduction is critical to cow-calf profitability,” says Dr. Bob Larson, professor of production medicine and associate with the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University (K-State). “It’s what really drives our clients’ profitability. When we look at veterinary practices, pregnancy checking is usually the No. 1 income generator for bovine veterinary practices.”
The BCI’s Pregnancy Analytics platform, including both the app and the soon-to-come desktop-friendly dashboard, offers what veterinarians and cattle producers want to see first: An assessment of the herd’s reproductive success.

The app

The beauty of the BCI’s Pregnancy Analytics app is chute-side data, Larson says. The app creates customized charts with information including the number of cows that became pregnant within the first 21 days of the breeding season based on age, body condition score (BCS) and a custom category determined by the client. It’s all available as soon as the sleeve comes off.

“It tells you who and when cows did not become pregnant,” Larson says. “It gives me more information than simply “twelve percent of my cows didn’t get pregnant. Now I know when cows didn’t get pregnant, and I know which cows, when, didn’t get pregnant.”

Enriching the practice

The Pregnancy Analytics platform gives veterinarians a way to add value to pregnancy diagnosis, he says. “Identifying open cows has value, but using the additional information provided by the platform is information you can use to both problem solve and plan for the future.”
“I can look at the app and easily determine that, ‘Oh, [my cows] didn’t breed well in the last two weeks of June. That guides me to ask ‘What happened in the last two weeks of June?’ This type of information helps to ask better questions and to provide better answers.”
The platform assists the veterinarian, the producer and the university. The veterinarian is better able to serve his clients, the producer has a tool to improve herd fertility, and BCI receives useful data for creating benchmarks and evaluating a wide variety of herds.
That is, if you share your data. Veterinarians can opt out of sharing their data with BCI and the app will maintain complete functionality, except for the ability to compare to benchmarks.

Real-world data

“If you don’t share your data, you don’t get the benchmarks,” Larson points out. BCI uses the data collected from ranches and veterinarians using the app to create benchmarks that compare the current herd to herds in the top one-third. “We think that comparing to the top one-third of herds provides a better goal than comparing to the average herd,” he says.
The Pregnancy Analytics app has garnered thousands of downloads and serves hundreds of active users across Kansas. It’s available for use on both Android and Apple devices through Google Play and the App Store. For more information on our mobile apps, click here.

Dr. Larson is a professor of production medicine with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, Edgar E. and Elizabeth Coleman Chair of Food Animal Production Medicine, executive director of Veterinary Medical Continuing Education, and faculty member with the Beef Cattle Institute. His area of specialization is the integration of animal health, production efficiency and economic considerations in beef cattle production.

K-State’s Cattlemen’s Day helps producers look forward

By K-State Research and Extension

Nearly 800 gather for 105th annual event

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Nearly 800 cattle producers and beef industry supporters from Kansas and surrounding states were on hand for the 105th annual Cattlemen’s Day at Kansas State University on March 2.

K-State agricultural economist Glynn Tonsor and newly-confirmed U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud highlighted the event’s general session, outlining many of the key factors that affect trade in agriculture and other industries around the world.

Doud, a native Kansan and K-State graduate whose appointment as chief agricultural negotiator was finalized just one day earlier, gave a talk based on years of experience in international trade, most recently as president of the Commodity Markets Council.

Tonsor is widely recognized for his work in tracking the economic outlook in the beef industry. During the session, he helped paint the picture of the importance of international trade as U.S. producers expand the beef herd.

“We got a good feel for the potential going forward for beef and all proteins, not only domestically, but in the export markets,” said Matt Teagarden, the chief executive officer for the Kansas Livestock Association, who attended the session.

“I think as you look at some of those supply projections, not only for beef but also the other proteins, it drives home the importance of working with consumers not only in the states, but also around the world to make sure we’ve got a market for those coming supplies,” Teagarden said.

Read the full release here.

BCI co-hosts Cow-Calf Conference

By Shelby Mettlen, communications and marketing specialist

The Beef Cattle Institute and College of Veterinary Medicine partner for annual conference.

The Kansas State University (K-State) College of Veterinary Medicine, together with the Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) hosted the college’s annual Cow-Calf Conference Feb. 16, 2018, at the University’s Stanley Stout Center in Manhattan, Kansas. Faculty and staff from the BCI, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture, and K-State Research and Extension covered topics on using information technology to enhance veterinary services to cow-calf herds.

The program welcomed students and veterinarians to its conference with information varying from how to use websites like the Department of Agricultural Economics’ agmanager.info to updates on the BCI’s emerging dashboards.

Presenters included:
Dr. Bob Weaber, professor and beef extension specialist, animal sciences and industry
Dr. A.J. Tarpoff, professor and extension beef veterinarian, animal sciences and industry
Dr. Gregg Hanzlicek, assistant professor, Veterinary Diagnostic Lab
Dr. Dustin Pendell, associate professor, agricultural economics
Dr. Glynn Tonsor, professor, agricultural economics
Dr. Brad White, director, BCI
Dr. Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, clinical sciences
Dr. David Amrine, research director, BCI
Dr. Sandy Johnson, extension specialist and professor, animal sciences and industry
Patti Dollarhide, director of value chain alliances, BCI
Dr. Carl Meyer, DVM, Oskaloosa Animal Clinic
Steve Johnson, computer systems manager/analyst, University of Nebraska Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center

“This conference was a good opportunity to discuss how veterinary practitioners are using a variety of tools to help make decisions with their clients,” said Dr. Brad White, director. “The Beef Cattle Institute is focused on created solutions that lead to actionable information for producers and veterinarians.”

The conference is intended to provide resources to veterinarians who need trusted information regarding cattle health, reproduction, synchronization protocols, bull selection and expected progeny differences (EPDs), writing veterinary feed directives (VFDs), market forces and other important aspects of livestock production.

“Beef producers look to their veterinarian for information about cattle health, reproduction, nutrition and other aspects of operating sustainable livestock operations,” said Dr. Bob Larson, professor. “This conference helped veterinarians identify valuable online resources available from K-State that can assist them as they address their clients’ needs. The Beef Cattle Institute, the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, the Department of Agricultural Economics, and K-State Extension all provide useful websites, downloadable smart phone apps, management decision calculators, and up-to-date information from research performed at land grant universities across the country. The ability to access and utilize these resources when making recommendations or guiding decisions at the herd level increases the value that veterinarians provide for their clients.”

Topics and resources:

Beef Cattle Institute
Pregnancy Analytics app and VFD app
Animal Care Training/AABP and AVC continuing education

K-State Research & Extension
K-State Research and Extension Beef website
Management Minder, Estrus Synchronization Planner, AI Cowculator

College of Veterinary Medicine
KSVDL website and app
ksvdl.org and ksvdl.org/resources/mobile-app
CONSULT programs

Department of Agricultural Economics
Cow Calf 5 (Great Plains Veterinary Education Center)