Breeding should be finished on autumn-calving herds, so now is a good time to have cows scanned to confirm the number of animals that are settled in-calf.

Cows can be accurately scanned around 40 days after service, so herds that typically calve from late August to early October can scan animals from mid-February onwards.

Cows which are not settled in-calf should be marked for culling and in most herds, the number of barren animals will be small.


Options for these animals include selling now as a suckler outfit, then replacing the cows with in-calf heifers closer to calving time.

Alternatively, the handful of cows that are not in-calf can be weaned in late spring and sold live or fattened.

The economics in suckler production are marginal.

Letting these animals slip to the spring herd or running empty for a year will drain money from the system.

Empty cows are better off cashed in.

Early scanning gives more options to herd owners, allowing farmers to prepare animals for sale and maximise returns.

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