Thursday, 15 October 2020 07:55

Easy to identify cows on heat

Written by  Staff Reporters
Tail painting can be a reliable heat detection tool. Tail painting can be a reliable heat detection tool.

The key to a successful mating period starts with accurately determining when a cow is on heat.

FIL says farmers need a clear process, good observation and effective use of a reliable heat detection tool. Tail paint is a tried, tested and proven method. 

 “With an effective painting plan in place, you can identify almost 90% of cows on heat,” says FIL. “Applied properly, it will reliably provide a visual indication of when a cow has stood to be mounted, and consequently rubbed, to show that she’s on heat. It also helps to pick up cows that are on heat for a short time and might otherwise be missed.”

FIL Detail tail paint comes in six fluorescent colours, which enables a systematic painting plan to identify each stage during the ‘detection to pregnancy’ 12-week cycle. 

For example, paint all cows with red tail paint approximately three weeks after calving. Check the paint strip at each milking. In most cases, much of the paint will be rubbed off when a cow is on heat. 

Paint cows on heat with green tail paint. 

After insemination, paint the cows with blue tail paint. If the paint rubs off, the cow is not pregnant. 

Once pregnancy is confirmed, paint the cows with yellow tail paint. 

Applying tail paint

1. Remove loose hair and dirt along the backbone above the tail and ensure cow is dry. 

2. Ensure both the cow and conditions are dry. Although Detail is faster drying compared to oil-based paint, it will take 10 minutes to dry. 

3. Paint a strip 50-60mm wide and 150mm long along the ridge of the backbone immediately above the tail. It’s best to apply the paint from the tail pushing up the cow’s back – this lifts the hair and makes it easier to detect when a cow is rubbed. 

FIL says its Detail 10L bucket is gaining popularity as a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, ultimately minimising waste on farm. 

“It’s just as effective as oil-based tail paint, with similar adhesive and visibility for up to 21 days. 

“Being water-based, it’s gentler on skin, so it’s better for cows. Plus, there’s less harm to the applicator’s skin and can be easily cleaned with water.”

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