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The Need - Heat Detection
Dairy profitability depends on herd fertility, which is based on optimized lactation intervals. In maintaining good fertility, the main factor is timing. The equation is simple: identifying the exact time for breeding = improved pregnancy rates.
Detecting when animals are in heat is critical. High-yielding cows maintain short estrus periods with few visual signs. As cows can be in heat any time around the clock, nighttime heat periods may go undetected. In larger herds, the challenge is even greater, since farmers may miss animals in heat altogether.
While breeding programs may vary from farm to farm, the causes of reduced fertility – and subsequent losses – remain the same. To maintain top fertility performance and farm profitability, dairies must address these aspects:
- Open days – Past VWP (Voluntary Waiting Period) cows should be bred during every cycle. Every additional open day costs between $4 to $7. By reducing involuntary open days, farmers can increase their income.
- Missed cows – Anestrus, the lack of heat signs, may cause late breeding of some cows. Early identification and treatment of cows with anestrus may keep the best cows in the profitable population.
- Abortions – Statistically, 3-5% of pregnant cows lose their embryos. Early detection of abortions can greatly reduce the number of cows at all stages of lactation.
- Operation cost – Detecting heat with visual techniques is laborious and requires trained personnel.
By counteracting these problems, dairy farms increase their overall profits.
Twenty five years of research have demonstrated a direct and strong link between the timing of estrus and increased activity of a cow. Computerized heat detection, based on this correlation, is the best solution for dairy farms of all sizes.
Automated heat detection systems offer:
- Accuracy – Well designed cow monitoring systems, based on neck collars or leg tags, are superior to other techniques.
- Robustness – 24/7 operation, no need for human intervention.
- Savings – Eliminates need for visual detection, reducing labor and operation costs.
- A long-term solution – Operates independently, improving herd fertility on an ongoing basis.
Afimilk leading systems in their class
Afimilk Silent Herdsman – The Leading Neck Collar Fertility Management System
Simply put, Silent Herdsman will help you make more money, save time, improve fertility performance and keep your herd healthy.
Silent Herdsman's neck collar uses patent protected artificial intelligence algorithms to provide the highest detection rates in the industry. These collars are super easy to mount on cows and heifers come with the most user-friendly software and work right out of the box.
In addition to estrus detection, the Afimilk Silent Herdsman system will help you monitor your cows’ rumination and eating abnormalities, health and much more.
Whether on your mobile device, tablet or PC, on the farm or elsewhere – you can access Afimilk Silent Herdsman from wherever you are at any time.
AfiAct II - The Leading Leg Tag Fertility Management System
AfiAct was the dairy industry’s first commercial pedometer-based system for estrus detection. More than 25 years of proven effectiveness and continuous improvements have made AfiAct the gold standard infertility (cow insemination) management.
As an outstanding automation system is more than just a good detector of heat, AfiAct has a diversity of functions. The system follows up the 21-day heat cycles of individual cows, alerts users for cases of anestrous, and detects increased activity in pregnant cows, sounding early alerts for suspected abortions. Making sophisticated calculations internally, AfiAct simplifies output for the user.
These features simplify work at the farm and improve herd fertility, giving AfiAct a quick ROI. In short, AfiAct makes its users better dairy operators.
Did you know?
Research published by Kaim et al from Israel’s Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research in June 2011 showed very high efficiency (89.2%) and accuracy (88.5%) of estrus detection with the AfiAct system, even in Israel’s unfavorably hot conditions.
Afimilk’s effective calving alert service
AfiAct II’s calving alert service is using 24/7 cow behavior monitoring analyzed by advanced algorithms implemented in the AfiFarm management software. As a result, it provides alerts with high accuracy (typically, the actual calving takes place within 4 hours from the received alert). For more details please download the AfiAct II Calving Alert Service Solution Note - Better management of calving – a matter of life or death.
Please also refer to Frequently Asked Questions - AfiAct II
From Our Users
Farms in America, Europe and Israel have shown a reduction of 15-29 open days during the first year of use, lowering production costs significantly.
"... with Afimilk we are able to do a lot better job breeding our cows," says Brian Houin from Homestead dairy (Indiana, USA), using AfiAct II, whose herd has a pregnancy rate of over 28%.
"Our calving index has dropped from 403 to 390 in just 12 months. It definetely helps profitability and we'd thoroughly recommand it." say Kevin & Sally Whistance from Black House farm (Herefordshire, UK), using Afimilk Silent Herdsman.
"At first it was hard for me to admit that electronic heat detection system is needed. Now I can't live without it... My pregnancy rate improved dramatically from 15% to 24%...", says John Hochstetler from Crystal Valley dairy (Indiana, USA), using AfiAct II.
The Afimilk heat detection system reduces an average of 20-25 open days on most farms. At $5 per day, this means a yearly savings could hit the $100-150 mark per cow. The system also saves roughly half a day to a full day of labor per employee, for each group of 100 cows. These benefits make for a ROI of only 1.5 years (often far less) for most farms.