ArticleVolume Number May 6, 2020
Jean DurocherM.Sc., D.M.V.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: could this be an opportunity to optimize reproduction management?

La pandémie de la COVID-19 : Et si c’était une opportunité pour optimiser la régie de la reproduction ?

As I write this, the coronavirus is still a concern in Canada and although some measures have been lifted in a number of provinces, they have forced us to be creative in using all the tools available to ensure service levels were maintained for our producers. Services such as GestaLab, used in combination with reproduction management visits by veterinarians, can help dairy producers in optimizing their reproduction strategy.

What lessons can we learn from this experience?

Pregnancy diagnosis is an essential service in order to maintain a dairy herd’s capacity to produce. Most producers have adapted quickly, and laboratories that offer pregnancy tests on milk or blood samples also adapted to keep providing services.

By not having to delay these pregnancy tests, producers have been able to identify open cows quickly, thereby reducing the negative economic impact associated with increased days open. 

In this context, how often should pregnancy tests be carried out?

  • Once a month?
  • Once every two weeks?
  • Once a week?

Should you choose to use an ultrasound exam, or test a milk or blood sample?

What if combining both approaches could significantly reduce breeding interval?  Using all available tools in complement is a great option.

Does this mean that your veterinarian’s input is less important when using laboratory analysis for pregnancy testing?

If your veterinarian supports you in:

  • understanding the potential of the different testing options
  • setting up a strategy that meets your needs
  • interpreting results
  • establishing an intervention protocol for open cows
  • monitoring herd performance

… then the answer is clear – you need and should use that support!

Does supporting farm reproduction management imply that the contribution of the veterinarian becomes less important?

Absolutely not - setting up protocols and consultation obviously does not solve all of the potential problems, but allows dairy producers to optimize the reproductive management of the herd.

What is Lactanet's commitment to this type of approach?

  • helping producers maximize sample quality
  • continually improving on test efficiency
  • improving the speed and ease of the transfer of results
  • proposing new test options
  • supporting producers and veterinarians, and helping them to use GESTALAB to its full potential.

It may take several weeks or months before things begin to return to normal and even then, the post COVID-19 « normal » may be far different from the one we knew before.

A quote from Winston Churchill seems very appropriate to me in the present situation: « The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. »

It’s up to us to seize the opportunity!


* Some services offered may differ depending on the region. Please contact our Customer Service to discuss options:

Lactanet West (Ontario and Western Provinces):  Email us @ Customer Service or call 1-800-549-4373.

Lactanet East (Quebec and Atlantic Provinces): Email us @ Customer Service or call 1-800-266-5248.