Research undertaken at Kansas State University and published recently in the Journal of Dairy Science has shown that PinPoint heat detection collars were 88.6% accurate in identifying cows in oestrus. This compares favourably to other systems which detected fertility heats at 70-80% accuracy.
The study, which was commissioned to determine the time of ovulation and to compare within in-herd conception rates of cows inseminated based on activity monitors versus timed AI, confirmed that 88.6% of cows flagged as being in heat by PinPoint collars were correctly identified as being in oestrus.
The study also showed that days to first AI were reduced in cows fitted with activity monitors. This has a positive influence on the calving interval due to improved oestrus-detection rate and subsequent AI submission rate, meaning more cows becoming pregnant earlier. The mean average number of days to pregnancy was reduced in activity monitored cows by 24 days.
“These experiments prove that activity monitors really are the very best way of accurately predicting ovulation and optimum timing for AI,” explains Michael Jones, Cogent Breeding’s Precision Technical Manager.
“The research has proven that the majority of heats occur during the night and that the delay between the onset of heat and conception time varies significantly according to the age of the animal and the number of previous pregnancies. Optimising the timing of insemination is therefore key to improving conception rates. However, in order to improve insemination timing, it is essential to be able to detect heat accurately in the first place.
“PinPoint heat detection collars use the most advanced three-dimensional motion monitoring technology available,” Mr Jones adds. “This increases the accuracy of heat detection beyond the level achieved by other heat detection systems by up to 9%, thereby making it possible for PinPoint users to improve conception rates more effectively. This in turn leads to more productive and profitable herds.”
Sam Middleton milks 120 cows through two robots on his farm near Hull and concurs with the studies findings: as the only person on his farm, spotting cows bulling was proving to be one challenge too far for Sam who was using a disproportionate amount of PRIDs and prostaglandin injections to improve his herd’s submission rates.
“I simply wasn’t seeing enough cows in heat and was struggling to maintain pregnancy rates,” Sam explains. “I installed PinPoint and found that the majority of cows were coming into heat between 11pm and 3am when I wasn’t there to witness it.
“The heat detection system is akin to having an extra herdsman working alongside me. I’m now serving two to three times as many cows and I’ve been able to tighten my herd’s calving pattern for improved milk production efficiency.”