The Need – Heat Detection
Dairy profitability depends on herd fertility, which is based on optimized lactation intervals. In maintaining good fertility, the main factor is timing. The equation is simple: identifying the exact time for breeding = improved pregnancy rates.
Detecting when animals are in heat is critical. High-yielding cows maintain short estrus periods with few visual signs. As cows can be in heat any time around the clock, nighttime heat periods may go undetected. In larger herds, the challenge is even greater, since farmers may miss animals in heat altogether.
While breeding programs may vary from farm to farm, the causes of reduced fertility – and subsequent losses – remain the same. To maintain top fertility performance and farm profitability, dairies must address these aspects:
- Open days – Past VWP (Voluntary Waiting Period) cows should be bred during every cycle. Every additional open day costs between $4 to $7. By reducing involuntary open days, farmers can increase their income.
- Missed cows – Anestrus, the lack of heat signs, may cause late breeding of some cows. Early identification and treatment of cows with anestrus may keep the best cows in the profitable population.
- Abortions – Statistically, 3-5% of pregnant cows lose their embryos. Early detection of abortions can greatly reduce the number of cows at all stages of lactation.
- Operation cost – Detecting heat with visual techniques is laborious and requires trained personnel.
By counteracting these problems, dairy farms increase their overall profits.
Twenty five years of research have demonstrated a direct and strong link between the timing of estrus and increased activity of a cow. Computerized heat detection, based on this correlation, is the best solution for dairy farms of all sizes.
Automated heat detection systems offer:
- Accuracy – Pedometer-based heat detection is superior to other techniques.
- Robustness – 24/7 operation, no need for human intervention.
- Savings – Eliminates need for visual detection, reducing labor and operation costs.
- A long-term solution – Operates independently, improving herd fertility on an ongoing basis.
AfiAct was the dairy industry’s first commercial pedometer-based system for estrus detection. More than 25 years of proven effectiveness and continuous improvements have made AfiAct the gold standard in fertility management.
As an outstanding automation system is more than just a good detector of heat, AfiAct has a diversity of functions. The system follows up the 21-day heat cycles of individual cows, alerts users for cases of anestrous, and detects increased activity in pregnant cows, sounding early alerts for suspected abortions. Making sophisticated calculations internally, AfiAct simplifies output for the user.
These features simplify work at the farm and improve herd fertility, giving AfiAct a quick ROI. In short, AfiAct makes its users better dairy operators.
Did you know?
Research published by Kaim et al from Israel’s Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research in June 2011 showed very high efficiency (89.2%) and accuracy (88.5%) of estrus detection with the AfiAct system, even in Israel’s unfavorably hot conditions.
From Our Users
Farms in the USA, Europe and Israel have shown a reduction of 15-29 open days during the first year of use, lowering production costs significantly.
“… with Afimilk we are able to do a lot better job breeding our cows,” says Brian Houin from Homestead dairy (Indiana, USA), whose herd has a pregnancy rate of over 28%.
The Afimilk heat detection system reduces an average of 20-25 open days on most farms. At $5 per day, this means a yearly savings could hit the $100-150 mark per cow. The system also saves roughly half a day to a full day of labor per employee, for each group of 100 cows. These benefits make for a ROI of only 1.5 years (often far less) for most farms.