14 May 1999

Pregnancy test cost-effective

PREGNANCY scanning has declined in herds over the last few months as producers try to reduce costs, says Signet pig consultant Ron Chambers. But cutting back on scanning is the last thing they should be doing.

"Fewer staff on units means the essential things are not getting done," says Mr Chambers. "Some herds are losing 40-50 days/sow and should definitely consider pregnancy testing."

Using contract scanners, especially on smaller units, ensures that pregnancy testing is done regularly. "It is easy to stop paying for this service in difficult times." he says "Even on farms with a scanner it is sometimes left in the corner unused because producers dont have time."

Larger units with 1000 sows or more generally scan regularly, achieving a high level of accuracy regardless of the type of scanner used, says Mr Chambers. But on smaller units where the scanner is only brought out occasionally, lack of practise may mean accuracy is lower, he warns. &#42