The average heat-detection rate for lactating cows on Midwest dairies is only 40 percent to 45 percent, says Gunnar Josefsson, dairy scientist with the Biological Systems Engineering department at the University of Wisconsin.

Failure to catch cows in heat is not limited to the Midwest. All producers can stand to improve their heat-detection skills. Josefsson offers these ideas:

  • Keep it simple. Train employees to use tools, such as tail chalk or paint, and to monitor cows for heats at least twice a day.
  • Get help. Consider investing in a full-service breeding program from an AI organization. Services often include daily heat detection, breeding on observed heats and recording breeding data.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: A two-page tip sheet entitled “artificial insemination: still profitable!” Can be found at: http://bse.wisc.edu/hfhp/