Accurate pregnancy testing kit may soon be a reality for Kenyan farmers following the successful trial of a diagnostic gadget in Ethiopia by International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
The Hormonost Micro-Lab farmertest can detect successful artificial insemination (AI) in 20 days, allowing for farmers to prepare for another service if the first one failed.
This would save farmers a lot of time wasted in weeks and months waiting to confirm if their cow conceived or not. The kit was imported from Germany for the demonstration which was carried out at Tigray, the north most region of Ethiopia.
It is estimated that AI technicians misdiagnose almost half of pregnancy tests.
But Solomon Gizaw of ILRI say the 15-minutes test involving six milk samples at a time gave results whose accuracy was up to 91 per cent.
Besides, the diagnostic test brought to light hidden embryonic mortality of between 15 per cent and 40 per cent.
He says the kit is highly reliable and efficient in giving farmers this crucial information on time for apt decision and action.
In Tigray region, the technology was used across six districts to detect pregnancy in 124 lactating cows 19-105 days (average 42 days) post-AI.
At least 133 cows were palpated at 60-90 days post insemination for pregnancy diagnosis. Out of 47 cows which were diagnosed as negative based on their progesterone profile, 5 were found to be false negative upon rectal palpation.
This is translated to pregnancy detection accuracy of 90.6 per cent by the technology. Cows diagnosed as positive at 18-21 days post-AI by Hormonost, but negative by rectal palpation may not necessarily be false diagnosis as it could be the result of embryo mortality between 21 and 60 days of pregnancy
Hormonost Micro-Lab farmertest has not yet been introduces in Kenya, but an order from Germany cost about one Sh110,930-including shipment.