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.