Javier Alberto Medellin
Producer, Chihuahua, Mexico
What was your experience with trichomonasis (trich)?
We have a commercial herd of 2,500 cows, including different breeds and crossbreeds. We knew we had a problem with high abortion rates. Diagnostic testing helped us to identify the problem and increase our pregnancy rate by 27% in one year, resulting in a return on investment ratio of over 45:1.
What effect did trich have on the productivity of your herd?
We were using mainly natural services with Hereford, Brangus, and Charolais bulls. We don't know for sure how the herd got infected, but we used to buy bred cows from different herds across the state of Chihuahua and suspect that contributed.
When we would pregnancy test our cows, we always had a lot of open cows and some that had been open several cycles. We could also see that some cows had aborted because their uterus was thick and hard in consistency. Not to mention that the aborted calves were frequently seen in the pastures by our cowboys.
How are you managing trich?
We tested all of our bulls for trich and found 58 were positive. Any positives were immediately sent to slaughter. The open cows were allowed to cycle for three estruses, then they were synchronized to be artificially inseminated and exposed to clean bulls.
How did diagnostics help in your management of trich?
It helped us to identify the problem and take action, so we could get trich under control on our ranch. We improved our pregnancy rate from 55% to 82% in one year, so our investment in testing gave us a great return. Testing helped us know what we were dealing with so we could take steps to control the disease.
We stopped buying pregnant cows from other ranches, and now we only buy virgin bulls. After our first round of diagnostic testing, we waited and then retested all of the bulls that we kept. We slaughtered any new positive bulls, as well as slaughtering any cows that did not get pregnant or if we saw any sign of abortion.
We still find positive bulls, but the prevalence is definitely going down. We know we need to continue to monitor trich with diagnostic testing and keep working to eliminate it in our herd, but we hope to get there in a short time.
How did Thermo Fisher Scientific support your efforts?
The first test was paid for by Thermo Fisher in conjunction with the University of Chihuahua. Thanks to Thermo Fisher, the trich test is now available to ranchers in Chihuahua and all over Mexico.