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Heat Detection

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

January 2, 2013

Watching cows for heat is a task that's often assigned to cow pushers, since they probably spend more time observing cows than anyone else on the dairy. They also spend time among cows during the night hours, when cows in heat tend to be most active. While their primary job is bringing cows to the parlor, they should understand just how important heat detection is.

Heat is the time period in which a cow can become pregnant if she is inseminated. It lasts from 6 to 30 hours, and the best time to breed is during the 12 hours of "true heat". If we waste an opportunity to breed a cow, we"ll have to wait 21 more days until the cow cycles into heat again. It's easy to waste many months in this way! On the other hand, breeding a cow that
isn't in heat is a waste of semen.

There are many signs to help identify a cow in heat. The surest sign that a cow is in true heat is that she allows other cows to mount her. The secondary signs are shown sometimes by cows in true heat, but also when a cow is entering or leaving true heat. Some of these secondary signs are dirty flanks and a red and inflamed vulva with a clear mucous discharge. Cows in heat will also sniff the vulvas of other cows, bawl like a bull, walk faster, ride other cows, and give less milk than normal. The possibilities that a cow inseminated while entering or leaving true heat will become pregnant aren't very good, so it's worthwhile to pay close attention to cows that may be in heat.

Heat Detection   Detección de Celo
Look for cows in heat Busque vacas en celo
The vulva is red and swollen La vulva está rosada e inflamada
The vulva has a clear mucus discharge   La vulva tiene una descarga de moco claro
The cow allows other cows to mount her La vaca se deja montar 
Sniffs vulva of other cows Olfatea la vulva de otras vacas
Bawls like a bull Vocifera como un toro 

Detección de Celo 

Buscar vacas en celo es un trabajo muchas veces asignado a los arreadores de vacas, como ellos pasan más tiempo observando a las vacas que cualquier otra persona en la granja. También pasan mucho tiempo con las vacas durante la noche, cuando las vacas en celo están más activas. Aunque su trabajo principal es llevar las vacas a la sala de ordeño, es importante que entiendan que tan importante es identificar las vacas que están en celo.

El celo es una temporada en que una vaca puede quedarse preñada al inseminarla. Solamente dura unas 6 a 30 horas, y hay unas 12 horas en que es más recomendable inseminarla (el celo verdadero). Si gastamos una oportunidad para inseminar una vaca, tendremos que esperar 21 días hasta la vaca cicla al celo otra vez. ¡Así es posible gastar muchos meses! Al contrario, inseminar una vaca que no está en celo sería una pérdida de semen.

Hay varios signos para ayudarnos a identificar una vaca que está en celo. El signo más seguro del celo verdadero es que la vaca se deja montar por otras vacas. Los signos secundarios están mostrados a veces por vacas en calor verdadero, pero también cuando están entrando o saliendo del celo verdadero. Algunos de estos signos secundarios son los flancos sucios y una vulva rosada, inflamada y con una descarga de moco claro. Las vacas en celo también suelen olfatear la vulva o la orina de otras vacas, vociferar como un toro, caminar más rápido, montar a otras vacas y dar menos leche que normal. Las posibilidades de que una vaca inseminada cuando está entrando o saliendo del celo quedaría preñada no son muy altas, así que vale la pena poner mucha atención a las vacas que podrían estar en celo.











Upcoming Events

Beginning Farmer/Hobby Farmer Workshop $5/pp, class size is limited, so pre-register by April 15th!

April 27, 2019
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Canandaigua, NY

This hands-on workshop is for beginning or part-time farmers who would like to improve their farm machinery skills, learn to properly and safely maintain their equipment to protect their investment. If you have been thinking about buying a tractor, new or used, two-wheel or four-wheel drive, compact or utility or more come join us. Topics include: selecting the right size/type tractor for the job; basic maintenance; staying safe around tractors and equipment; attaching implements properly; and information about ROPS and SMV's. There will be time for questions.

Pre-registration requested by April 15, 2019 email Amy with your name, address, and phone number or call 585-394-3977 x 429.
Fee: $5.00/person. Class size is limited.

2019 Pastured Poultry Seminar, lunch included so please register by May 10th! $25/person

May 18, 2019
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.w/ coffee & donuts with the Program running from 9:00 a.m. - 5 p. m.
Attica, NY

The main speaker this year is Eli Reiff of Mifflinburg Pennsylvania. Eli raises broilers, turkeys, sheep, and beef, all on pasture. Topics to be covered will include the pasture, feed and nutrition, marketing, costs, and much more. As we grow as farm operators and get bigger, we may not pay as much attention to the basics as we should. So those areas are where we will start, and then expand to cover the group's interests.

Mike Badger, Director of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association will also be available for a round-table discussion. Plans are to have representatives from Farm Bureau, NYCAMH for farm health and safety, Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, as well as others.

Calling all 9th-12th graders! 4th Annual Precision Agriculture Day at Genesee Community College

May 21, 2019
9:00 am - 1:30 pm Register by Friday May 10th! $15/per person includes lunch
Batavia, NY

Calling all 9th-12th graders!  We have an exciting new program for students interested in technology, science, engineering, and agriculture!
Would you like to:
  • Learn about how Drones collect information
  • Check out some potential career opportunities that have new and ever-changing technology
  • Learn how these technologies can be used in our own backyards in WNY
  • Discover potential and exciting career opportunities


Producers Previously Enrolled in the LGM Program Now Eligible for MPP

Dairy Producers Previously Enrolled in the Livestock Gross Margin Program Now Eligible for 2018 Margin Protection Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that dairy producers who elected to participate in the Livestock Gross Margin for Dairy Cattle Program (LGM-Dairy) now have the opportunity to participate in the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) for 2018 coverage. Sign-up will take place March 25 through May 10, 2019.
Eligible producers can enroll during the sign-up period at their local USDA service center. To locate your office, visit

Smart Farming Team Technical Assistance Grant Application

The Labor Ready Farmer Project is offering grants to provide up to 12 hours of Technical Assistance (TA) consulting services to farms who want to make improvements to their farm's processes in hiring, training, managing or evaluating employees. Applicants will choose from one of the following four areas for TA assistance and identify a specific project. If selected they will be matched with a "Smart Farming Team" of consultants who will provide one on one technical assistance.
Please complete this application and send to Nicole Waters, Beginning Farm Project Coordinator for the Cornell Small Farms Program. The form can be submitted by email, mail or in-person at the address listed below. Please feel free to call or email with any questions.

Nicole Waters - Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator
Plant Science Building, Room 15b
Tower Road, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-9911

Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

USDA Announces January Income over Feed Cost Margin Triggers First 2019 Dairy Sa

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2019 ? The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced this week that the January 2019 income over feed cost margin was $7.99 per hundredweight, triggering the first payment for eligible dairy producers who purchase the appropriate level of coverage under the new but yet-to-be established Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

DMC, which replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, is a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers that was authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. DMC offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all milk price and the average feed cost (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced last week that sign up for 
DMC will open by mid-June of this year. At the time of sign up, producers who elect a DMC coverage level between $8.00 and $9.50 would be eligible for a payment for January 2019.

For example, a dairy operation with an established production history of 3 million pounds (30,000 cwt.) that elects the $9.50 coverage level for 50 percent of its production could potentially be eligible to receive $1,887.50 for January.

Sample calculation:
$9.50 - $7.99 margin = $1.51 difference
$1.51 times 50 percent of production times 2,500 cwt. (30,000 cwt./12) = $1,887.50

The calculated annual premium for coverage at $9.50 on 50 percent of a 3-million-pound production history for this example would be $2,250.

Sample calculation:
3,000,000 times 50 percent = 1,500,000/100 = 15,000 cwt. times 0.150 premium fee = $2,250

Operations making a one-time election to participate in DMC through 2023 are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount on their premium for the existing margin coverage rates.

"Congress created the Dairy Margin Coverage program to provide an important financial safety net for dairy producers, helping them weather shifting milk and feed prices," FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said. "This program builds on the previous Margin Protection Program for Dairy, carrying forward many of the program upgrades made last year based on feedback from producers. We're working diligently to implement the DMC program and other FSA programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill."

Additional details about DMC and other FSA farm bill program changes can be found at

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1