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600 cows were metrichecked this week, 23 that were showing advanced indicators of metritis were treated. A further 98 that appeared to have a questionable, minor or were on the edge of the calving timelines were “treated” with a 100ml solution of saline and iodine. These will all be rechecked for the “treatments” effectiveness in 14 days’ time by a vet and was simply a trial by the management team to see how it went on our lower risk animals to save some costs. The recheck by the vet found a further 47 cows requiring treatment, these cows were treated as per the vets' ecommendations.

What is Edometritis?

Endometritis is a disease of the uterus that occurs in cows post calving, with the uterus involuting, a natural recovery process to its pre calving state in the four weeks post calving.

Metrichecking at SDF

With over 65% of the herd now calved at SDF, earlier calvers are ready to be metrichecked to determine the incidence of uterine infection. A mild or severe infection are both associated with an impairment of fertility, unless they are treated, these infections can present as clinical endometritis, sub clinical endometritis and in severe cases (1-2%) metritis.

The most at risk cows are deemed to be those that had a difficult calving, RFM, twins, metabolic disorders and those calving on challenging environmental contaminants (wet mud, dirty calving pads, muck) and would be recommended to be checked regardless.

In terms of timing with the wide range in uterine infection and in some cases self-cure Metrichecking is recommended in batches with all at risk cows checked 4-5 weeks post calving. Ideally prior to October so cows that need to be treated can recover and begin oestrus activity prior to the planned start of mating. Research showed that the number of cows at a herd level with subclinical endometritis 14 – 21days post calving was 35% of the herd with 10% remaining sub clinical 40-45days post calving, hence the recommendation to check 4-5 weeks post calving. Cows with endometritis at four to six weeks after calving can have a 15-20% lower six-week in-calf rate than unaffected cows. 

How endometritis affects reproduction

How much harm is caused by the inflammation and infection of endometritis will determine how long a cow remains anoestrous and how likely she is to conceive and maintain her pregnancy.  Research conducted by AgResearch and Victoria University of Wellington identified that subclinical endometritis affects the quality of the eggs and, therefore, can interfere with ovulation and conception. 

Cost Benefit

In terms of costings if you not doing it yourself:

Labour $150/hr.

Cost of treatment = $40/cure

SDF Costings whole herd

700 cows checked in 2 batches = $1.16c/ cow checked

(350 cows checked / batch / $300 for 2hours)

Cost of treatment = $40/ cure

Total Cost of Check + Treatment = $41.16/ cure

SDF Costings of drafting and checking ‘at risk’ cows only

70 cows (assume 10% herd).

Season to date 53 cows are deemed at risk = $0.46c/ cow checked

(70 cows checked / $150 for 1hour)

Cost of treatment = $40/ cure

Total Cost of Check + Treatment = $40.46/ cure

Cost of not metricuring or doing nothing to the potential delay in oestrus

= 21 days (1 cycle) x $3.85/KgMS x 1.75KgMS/ cow = $141.50/ cow

Plus cost of affecting 6 week in Calf Rates

Current 6 week in calf rate at SDF is 72%

If 10% of the herd was affected by endometritis = 70 cows and 6 week in calf rates can be affected by up to 15%

70 cows could have a 6 week in calf rate of 61%

Cost of this 6 week in calf rate gap = 72% current 6 week in calf rate – 61% = 11% 6 week in calf rate gap x $4 x 70 cows = $3212 or $44/ cow


Full Research and Technical Information at:

August 2013 

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