Missed and false heats have been part of dairy life at joining time.
But with margins in dairy farming getting tighter, poor heat detection comes at a cost.
Brett Membrey, a fifth-generation dairy farmer who farms with his parents and brother at Naringal near Warrnambool in south-west Victoria, has been using CowManager for five years and knows they are getting more cows in-calf and earlier with accurate heat detection.
Brett says he chose the CowManager system because it is simple to use, very accurate, a one-person job to attach and detach the tag, and is less likely to be lost or damaged than a collar.
The CowManager ear tag clips over the NLIS tag on the cow’s ear.
It is scanned on a mobile phone and the cow number is recorded.
Data is then continually sent back to the computer via mobile routers that are spread across the farm.
Either the computer program or mobile app then displays the cows on heat, days since last heat and the beginning time of the heat.
From here it’s a two-minute job to put those cows on draft for insemination.
“Ease of use is the key,” Brett said.
“We’re definitely inseminating cows that are in heat, and at the correct stage of heat, and saving semen on not inseminating those cows that might be on. We are not missing those cows with short heats either.
“I liken the accuracy of the system to having new Kamars or scratchies applied each day.
“We were spending six to seven hours a day heat detecting while milking, instead of 10 minutes a day with CowManager — and now we’re getting it right.”