Fieldays preview: Heat detection for herringbone sheds
02 June 2015
The latest innovation in automated heat detection will be on show at the National Fieldays this month, with LIC’s exclusive new camera system for herringbone sheds (LIC Automation, Fieldays site E30).
The Protrack EZ Heat system includes a unique in-race photo booth setup that cows walk through as they exit the shed after milking. A camera in the booth takes a photo of the cow’s heat patch, affixed above their tail, and evaluates the heat patch for signs of activation.
If the patch is deemed activated or missing, then the cow is automatically drafted to a pen ready for the farmer to inspect, review any recent oestrus reports in the system and put up to the artificial breeding technician. Cows deemed to have no activity will pass through the booth and carry on back to the paddock.
LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says the system is an exciting addition to the range of automation and sensory technology systems LIC offers as it utilises exclusive camera technology that has previously been limited to rotary milking sheds.
“Identifying cows on-heat is a critical job during the farm’s mating season. The next year’s production depends on it, but achieving accuracy, every time, can be a challenge for even the most experienced farmer.
“Having a system that does it all is at the top of many farm wish lists, and since LIC first launched Protrack EZ Heat for rotary sheds we’ve had a large number of farmers asking for the system to go in their herringbone sheds too.
“Making the technology work in the herringbone shed setup required some changes however, so the in-race photo booth system was developed and trials have been very successful.
“This system won’t be available for farmers to purchase at the Fieldays, but we’re excited to have it on show so they can see the progress we are making in this area,” he said.
The system will be installed on an additional 10 farms for the coming spring mating season, before full commercialisation, currently expected for the following season.
The Protrack EZ Heat system for herringbone sheds will form part of the farmer-owned co-operative’s specialist automation and sensor technology site at the National Fieldays next month – for its newly formed subsidiary business LIC Automation, located at E30.
The site will also feature the co-op’s full range of herd management and milk meter systems from Protrack and DAL.