Heat detection can broadly be placed into three key periods during the mating season:
Pre-Mating heat detection gives you an early idea of the animals that have cycled or more importantly, not cycled. Use whatever works on your farm - tail paint, observation or heat patches.
This allows you to have problem cows checked or plan synchronies in advance of your start of mating.
Having a discussion with your vet about your non-cyclers early can make a real difference. Without pre-mating heat detection, you are flying blind.
First 3 weeks of mating
A lot of time and money is spent getting cows to cycle through this period, Synchro programmes, vet intervention and feeding to achieve condition, to name a few.
Why waste this effort through poor heat detection?
Second 3 weeks of mating
Accurate heat detection is as important, if not more so, in the second round as it was in the first round. Fatigue from the sheer number of cows picked can be a real issue and taking a break by utilising senior staff can make all the difference.
Giving yourself a break by training your staff and helping them via the use of detection aids can help with the accuracy of detection.
During the second round the frequency of cows cycling will be significantly less and there may even be a slight decrease in activity due to the reduced size of the cycling group. CIDR returns can also be harder to pick.