Heat detection made simple

Heat detection made simple

27 July 2020

Accurately determining when a cow is on heat ensures a more successful mating period. You need a clear process, good observation and effective use of a reliable heat detection tool. Water-based tail paint is your simplest, safest and most cost-effective option.

An effective tail painting plan can help you identify almost 90 percent of cows on heat. When applied properly, tail paint will reliably provide a visual indication of when a cow has stood to be mounted and consequently rubbed, to show that she is on heat. It also helps to pick up cows that are on heat for a short time and might otherwise be missed.

How to apply tail paint:

  1. Remove loose hair and dirt along the backbone above the tail.
  2. Paint a strip 50 to 60 millimitres (mm) wide and 150mm long along the ridge of the backbone immediately above the tail. It is best to apply the paint from the tail pushing up the cow’s back – this lifts the hair and makes it easier to detect when a cow is rubbed.

The “detection to pregnancy” cycle is about 12 weeks. Each stage can be identified by a different colour and to create a systematic painting plan, GEA FIL’s ‘Detail’ tail paint comes in six fluorescent colours – green, blue, red, orange, yellow and pink.

For example:

  • Paint all cows with red tail paint approximately three weeks after calving. Check the paint strip at each milking. In most cases, much of the paint will be rubbed off when a cow is on heat.
  • Paint those cows on heat with green tail paint*.
  • After insemination, paint the cows with blue tail paint. If the paint rubs off, the cow is not pregnant.
  • Once pregnancy is confirmed, paint the cows with yellow tail paint.

Detail is a water-based tail paint and is gaining popularity as a more environmentally-friendly option than the standard oil-based paints – minimising health and safety risks on-farm. Being water-based, it is also gentler on the skin, so it is better for cow comfort, particularly when they are severely rubbed. Plus, there is less risk to the operator’s skin. Detail is also faster drying (dries in 10 minutes) and is easily cleaned up with a bit of water if spilt. Furthermore, it is no less effective than oil-based tail paint, with similar adhesive and visibility qualities. Detail is visible for up to 21 days^.

The one litre (L) Detail applicator comes with a built-in brush for easy application, while the 10L pail is a more cost-effective option and partners well with Tail-Mate™, a uniquely curved tail paint roller that provides good coverage along the tail bone in one easy roll.

For more information on best practise tail painting this mating, talk to your local Technical Sales Rep or GEA FIL Area Manager.

* In the case of non-cycling cows, seek advice from your animal health professional.
^ Subject to conditions and correct application.

Article supplied by GEA | FIL