In-calf num­bers up with Flash­mate

Dairy News Australia - - MACHINERY & PRODUCTS -

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.

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