Failure to detect heats is one of the most common — and costly — problems that limits success in dairy reproductive programs, say dairy management experts at Texas A&M University. And the reason is mostly due to human error. About 10 percent of the cause for failure to detect heat is due to cow problems, but 90 percent is because of “management” problems.
How serious is this problem? About half of all heats are undetected, and up to about 15 percent of dairy cattle presented for inseminations are not in heat.
To help, the Texas A&M team offers several hints to improve the accuracy and number of cows detected in heat. These include:
Use regularly scheduled visual observations and tail chalk to improve heat detection.
Check herd records to determine when the cow was last in heat to verify accuracy.
Watch for secondary signs of heat expression.
Be aggressive as possible in identifying cows in heat.
Combine heat detection technology with judicious management and interpretation by knowledgeable “cow people”.
Source: Texas A&M University