BS in Dairy Science
Dairy Science Department
The objective of this study, is to determine the effectiveness of an activity monitoring system as an integral part of the Cal Poly Dairy breeding protocol. Dairy herd reproductive efficiencies have dropped in the past 40 years. Increased milk production, and genetic advancements towards more milk production, have led to reproductive rates declining. An advanced breeding program is needed to become more efficient in this area. The study consisted of the evaluation of one option, Heatime™ by MICRO Dairy Logic, and comparing it to the commonly used programs in dairies today such as synchronization methods, pedometers, and other electronic detection aids. The Heatime™ system was chosen to be installed on the Cal Poly dairy herd. Once installed it was kept up to date with current information; freshenings, pen moves, breedings, heats, and pregnancy checks. The results of this study yielded a well functioning breeding program. The system continuously monitors heats and records daily breeding lists. Charts and graphs are given to aid in determining a heat, or a possible problem cow. The cows are bred and entered in the computer to keep an up-to-date database. A pregnancy check was done to determine the reproductive efficiency over the first month of operation of the system. The result was a pregnancy rate of 9.62%. In conclusion, the data was not enough to make a determination of effectiveness, due to time constraints and due dates, and needs continued study to further evaluate. It did yield a smoothly running new breeding program which will be a springboard for countless other studies and further evaluation.