It is not possible to have good reproductive performance without good heat detection — and good heat detection is not possible without aids.
The most common and effective aid is tail painting. Stick-on devices are effective, but just like tail paint, they must be properly applied, throughout the AI season.
Larger-scale farmers usually prefer to use vasectomised bulls with chin balls, and these are also very effective. But you have to make sure these bulls are free of transmittable diseases.
Whatever heat detection aids system or combination of systems is used, close observation is always necessary. Remember that each heat missed during the breeding season could cost over €200.
Almost half of farmers use no aids to heat detection, and it is almost impossible for them to pick up all heats.
Tail paint is often used incorrectly.
The following instructions should be followed:
* Use a thick strip of ordinary emulsion paint, 2-3 inches wide, and 8-9 inches long. Special paint products are also available for tail painting.
* Paint from the tail-head forward.
* Apply the paint every week to a clipped, brushed tail-head in dry weather. Touch up tail paint more frequently in wet weather.
* Combined with early morning, midday and late evening heat detection, checks for paint loss at milking time should result in a very high heat detection rate.
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