We ran a clinical trial looking at P4 Progesterone kits and have had positive results.
Milk progesterone testing kits that work!
Good heat detection is one of the fundamentals for good herd fertility. Yet in many high yielding herds, spotting the signs of oestrus can be a challenge. Modern genetics and the pressures of high production, mean that many cows now show oestrus for only a short time, or hardly at all. But there’s another issue, as RAFT’s Jonathan Statham explains:
“With heat activity being low, and the drive to get cows back in-calf, it’s estimated that around 20% of artificial inseminations are actually given to cows which are already pregnant. This may be further complicated by the fact that around 5% of pregnant cows will still show signs of bulling. Not only is this a waste of semen straws, but more importantly, inseminating a pregnant cow is likely to cause abortion. This in turn adds another 21 day wait before the cow is ready to serve again, increasing the calving interval at a cost in excess of £3 for every extra day. And that’s assuming that no infection follows the abortion.”
In addition to watching cows for signs of heat, there are a range of heat detection tools that can be used on-farm to ensure cows are inseminated at the correct time. These include – Kamar markers, tail-painting, vasectomised bulls, and activity monitors like Heatime in which the extra movement of cows on heat is recorded via transponders on head collars. Another method of heat detection is to measure the progesterone in a cow’s milk.
RAFT’s Dan King explains:
The level of this hormone will rise and fall according to the stage of the cow\’s oestrus cycle. In a cow which is cycling normally, low levels of progesterone are found when the cow is in heat, i.e. she is not pregnant. High progesterone levels are found when she is pregnant, or in mid-cycle. The test is quite simple to do – a dipstick is put into a sample of milk and ten minutes later, a reading of high or low progesterone is obtained. After conducting trials of the progesterine product P4 Rapid on several farms, the RAFT team are delighted with the results. As Dan King says, \”Working with our clients, we’ve already seen improvements in herd fertility by using P4 Rapid to help identify whether cows really need serving; it’s a great tool in the fertility management box.