Buyers guide to heat detectors

The range and technical abilities of automated heat detection systems has grown in recent years, providing a plethora of options for farmers. We run through some of the key products available on the market

A lack of time and labour to watch cows bulling makes automated heat detection an attractive option for farmers.

Most systems work on the principle that a cow’s activity increases at oestrus. Information is then relayed from a cow monitor to a base station and the farmer is alerted to which cows he needs to serve – ultimately working to improve herd fertility, which is key to farm profitability.

However, new systems can combine activity data with other parameters, such as rumination and body temperature. The fact rumination tends to drop when a cow is in oestrus, while temperature increases, gives more confidence in determining if a cow is in heat.

See also: Pick the right heat detection system for your farm

A drop in rumination can also give an early indication of health problems before physical signs, allowing issues to be picked up early, while also highlighting feeding problems.

Bolus systems can be used to track rumen pH to inform feed management decisions, while automated milk testing can pick up mastitis or ketosis early too.

Overall, these systems can help better understand and analyse fertility and health parameters to drive efficiencies. Ultimately, the systems you choose will depend on your farm, preferences and what you are trying to achieve.

Click on the image to open a larger view (PDP) comparing a selection of products on the market. and you can download the PDF to print out.

PDF of heat monitors comparison table