In-calf numbers up with Flashmate
LAST YEAR, Tasmanian farmers Chris and Suzanna Cowley had a weekend off milking during the AI period for the first time since they’ve been dairy farming.
The Cowleys milk 370 Friesian-Jersey crossbreds on 140 hectares at Smithton in northwest Tasmania.
“I’d actually never done that before,” Chris said.
“We’d been using the Flashmates for a couple of weeks and I felt comfortable that our staff could pick the cows on heat.
“Basically, a cow’s either flashing red for in heat, or green, no heat.
It’s just a matter of cutting out the ones that are flashing red so they can be AI’ed.”
The Cowleys have previously used Estrus alert patches, and run around 80% in-calf at six weeks.
“We’re up on that using the Flashmates, with a preg test showing we’re at 84%.
“I’m expecting that number to be higher again after we preg test at 12 weeks too, just like last year.
“You do know your cows, but if it’s a heifer that just has a quiet heat, then I reckon we’ve missed them in the past.
“This may not have been the year to use the Flashmates again in terms of milk price, but then pregnancy rates are already up, so they’ve more than paid for themselves.
“The financial benefits are there, and we’ll certainly use them again. At the end of the day, the benefit to us of using Flashmate is more cows in-calf to AI.”
A Flashmate turns red for a cow in heat or green if not in heat.