At Larson Acres in Evansville, Wis., the dairy uses ultrasound to confirm pregnancies as early as 28 days after insemination. In addition, the dairy uses ultrasound to better manage cows carrying twins, says Mike Larson, dairy manager at the 1,250-cow operation.

If a cow is found to be carrying twins, she receives special attention in order to minimize fresh-cow problems. To accomplish this, the dairy managers monitor the cow’s body condition score. This helps them decide if the cow should stay in the high-lactation group for a longer period of time. The managers also dry off cows that are carrying twins two weeks earlier than cows not carrying twins. Likewise, they will move these cows into the transition group two weeks earlier, assuming the cows may calve earlier because they are carrying twins.

The Larsons will continue to use ultrasound if it helps them save money by reducing fresh-cow problems in cows carrying twins.