Project Central

Heatsense

Heatsense

HEATSENSE™

HEATSENSE™

Accurate heat detection on-farm is vital for optimal conception rates and the cost of missed heats comes at a significant cost for the farmer. There are many technologies being developed for automated estrus detection; however many in develoment and on the market are not scientifically validated. Over the past few years we have been developing the use of IRT for automated estrus detection in dairy cows, which has resulted in a porfolio of patents. Few proof of concept studies have been undertaken in pigs and dairy cows (recent dairy example, *Talukder et al. 2014).

Our research trials have been undertaken on commercial farms in the Waikato, New Zealand and more recently in collaboration with LIC (http://www.lic.co.nz) at their Innovation Farm. The camera is currently positioned in a rotary system where images are captured as each animal passes by twice daily during milking. Collaborative studies are being undertaken in Canada with Animal Inframetrics and Dr Clover Bench, University of Alberta, to validate the technology in North American systems. The research is investigating not only changes in temperature profiles but combining thermal biometrics with micro-behavioural biometrics (subtle changes in activity) using IRT.

Advantages over other technologies currently being developed or those commercially available for estrus detection are the non-invasive nature of using IRT and the fact that it is not necessary to attach equipment to the animal. The IRT system can be integrated into existing automated drafting systems so that animals detected at milking can be automatically drafted.

*Talukder, S.; Kerrisk, K.L.; Ingenhoff, L.; Thomson, P.C.; Garcia, S.C.; Celi, P. 2014. Infrared technology for estrus detection and as a predictor of time of ovulation in dairy cows in a pasture based system. Theriogenology. 81: 925-935.