Comparison of four heat-detection methods on an experimental dairy-farm in Austria
Berg, M.G. van den
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Heat detection has been very important for the profitability of a dairy herd. There have been a lot of products available to improve the rate of detection. These have been based on visual detection, detection of mounting and/or activity. The activity measurement methods were not included in this study due to location where predominantly small farms exist. In this research four methods were compared, a visual routine of the stablemaster, 3x20 minutes of observation, the usage of cameras and Estrotect®. The research was performed on the Teaching and Research Farm of the Vetmeduni (LFG Kremesberg). Approximately 70 Simmental and Holstein Friesian cows were included in the study. The Estrotect® was not significant (Chi2-test) because of the high number of false positives and no association was found between the results of the Estrotect® and a true positive or true negative oestrus. The other methods were not significant as well. However, the 3x20 minutes had the highest accuracy (73%). The camera method and stablemaster routine had the highest number of accurate detections (68/93) and (71/107). When Estrotect® was combined with one of the other methods an increase of 34-56% in true positives detections was found. The usage of aids like Estrotect® for heat detection could be of added value if the conditions of the stable or pasture are taken into account. Determining which method has the best influence on heat detection rates is difficult, this depends on management, environmental and animal factors. More research is needed for a conclusive advice.