Ear sensors detect heat cycle

CowManager ear sensors will tell you which cow is on heat, sending you an alert to your computer as well as your smartphone. Photo by glen watson

Stop guessing your cows’ cycles and kiss tail paint and scratchies goodbye. Ear sensors are all you need to never miss a heat.

They measure cows’ rumination, eating, inactivity, activity, high active behaviour and ear temperature.

And those happen to be the perfect parameters to determine heat intensity and heat stage.

For Naringal-based dairy farmer Brett Membrey, who milks over 1000 cows, ear sensors have been a game-changer.

“We used to spend six to seven hours a day heat detecting while milking,” Brett said.

“Now, it’s 10 minutes a day — and we’re getting it right. We’re inseminating cows that are on heat, and at the correct stage of heat. We aren’t missing those cows with short heats either.

“I liken the accuracy of the system to having new scratchies applied each day.”

As easy as getting a text

CowManager ear sensors will tell you which cow is on heat, sending you an alert to your computer as well as your smartphone.

One look at your phone or PC, and you’ve got all the data about heat intensity, heat stages, heat peaks, possible pregnancies, non-cycling cows and even potential abortions.

The system shares alerts like ‘Potential’, ‘Suspicious’ and ‘In Heat’.

By clicking on the specific alert, you can view the activity graph of an individual cow, helping you determine the optimal time of insemination.

After receiving a heat alert, inseminating 10 to 22 hours after it is most ideal. Of course, the system calculates and refreshes all alerts every hour.

“Joining is less stressful”

Jared King was looking for a system to make joinings easier and more effective in terms of outcome as well as costs.

“When you waste a $25 straw on a mistimed insemination, you can live with it. But when the sexed straw costs three times that, you don’t want to get the timing wrong,” Jared said.

He manages a herd of 360 cows in Wattle Flat and since using the ear sensor system, the accuracy and timing of AI has improved, as well as conception rates.

“There’s obviously cost savings in labour, scratchies, tail paint. But I’d say the ease of use and accuracy of heat detection are the major benefits for us.”

Trevor Shanahan, who milks about 300 cows on his family farm in Koroit, mentions less stress as an added benefit.

“We have better control, more accurate timing of heats and we can AI accordingly,” Trevor said.

“It gives us greater certainty when using sexed semen and makes it more effective and economical.

“Joining is less stressful. There are no big AI days like there were when we used hormones. We let them cycle naturally and we can manage our workload better.”

Better for herd and home

At Childers Cove, Eugene and his two staff members care for and milk 300 cows. According to Eugene, one of the biggest benefits is being able to rely on the accuracy of the system.

“CowManager has taken any human error out of the process; from heat detection right through to cow identification and drafting,” he said.

“It’s so easy to use and makes the mating period very easy.

“I’ve been able to spend less time in the dairy as I haven’t had to worry about the heat detection or applying heat detection aids, leading to more family time.”

Eugene, his wife and seven children were able to go on a family holiday in the middle of the mating period.

“We’ve never been able to do that before,” he said.

“But having the cow monitoring app on my phone allows me to be able to see what is going on 24/7, even if I’m away.”