LIC | Three key periods of Heat Detection


Three key periods of Heat Detection

Heat detection can broadly be placed into three key periods during the mating season:

  1. Pre-Mating
  2. First 3 weeks of mating
  3. Second 3 weeks of mating

Pre-Mating

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?

  • Are you and your staff trained and confident to accurately identify a cycling cow?
  • Is the herd being monitored as often as possible, in the paddock, yard or shed ?
  • Are cycling cows being recorded and the cow number double checked before recording?
  • Are heat detection aids being used to help yourself and staff?


Accurate heat detection in the first 3 weeks of mating could give you more days in milk and potentially more AB heifer calves early. This will give increased choice when it comes to rearing as well as a more
accurate and early indication of the run/tail bulls required.

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.
For all of these reasons the use of a heat detection aid in the second round is every bit as important as the first. The value of an indication of a cycling cow far outweighs the additional cost involved.

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