2 Sep 2019 - The first farm in New Zealand to pilot a DeLaval automated heat detection system for cows has reported a positive impact on work efficiency and profitability in the first season.
“Before HeatGate we were using a traditional tail paint, which is how I was taught,’ said farmer Robbie Van Der Poel, who milks 400 cows in Otorohanga. “Now that we’re using DeLaval HeatGate, the cows are automatically drafted out and they’re there waiting for me to deal with after milking.”
DeLaval HeatGate is an automated heat detection system with potential to significantly improve submission and in-calf rates. The simple method uses an electronic circuit contained in an adhesive patch to replace tail paint and manual drafting in the shed. The patch is activated once pressure is applied and cows are automatically sorted at the gate for mating. The system can be used in any shed and farming system.
“I like the simplicity of the patches, anyone can use this in a way that minimises labour – we now have one less labour unit in the cowshed,” Mr Van Der Poel said. “You can do the whole herd in one milking ready to send out the next day, and it’s a one-off cost.”
“We’re focused on the technology that farmers need to lift their profitability and manage the health of their animals without increases in labour requirements,” said Peter Wilson from DeLaval. “We’ve seen about 231 more days in milk on our test farm as a result of automating heat detection alone.”
“In our first mating we had a 7% increase in 3 week in-calf rate so that basically means more cows in calf earlier, more days in milk, more money in my pocket,” confirmed Mr Van Der Poel.
DeLaval HeatGate can be installed and operated in any cow shed and any farming system, either using a hand-held operator, a standalone fixture on any gate without requiring a connection to a centralized data management system, or in conjunction with DeLaval SortGate.