"It's the first reliable, on-farm pocket-sized heat detection kit," says T.M. Chandler, product manager for Cambridge Veterinary Sciences, Cambridge, England, developer of the new "Ovucare" heat and pregnancy detection kit that's being marketed in the U.S. by TechAmerica Group Inc., Elwood, Kan.
The kit uses a single drop of milk to determine pregnancy and heat by measuring the progesterone in the milk. The milk is deposited in plastic wells coated with antibiotics that react with the progesterone -- or lack of it -- and turn a shade of pink. You simply compare the shade of pink with two "controls".
Each kit can be used to perform 30 tests. "You put the drop of milk in and let it sit for 30 min. Then you rinse out the tray and refill it with a developer chemical and let that sit for 15 min. At the end of the 45 min. you can make a determination," says Betty Kazor, Tech America representative.
If it turns dark pink that means a low progesterone content in the milk which means the cow is in heat. A light color indicates a high content which means she is not. Kazor says that even when used with animals in which estrus is difficult to detect, farmers have been able to achieve 100% success in artificial insemination. The kit is used again 24 days after insemination. It will tell you whether or not the animal is pregnant. If not, you can inseminate again without missing an entire cycle.
"It's very simple and easy to use. Anyone can use it and you can use it anywhere. Other detection systems in the past were quite complicated and required specialized lab equipment," notes Kazor.
The kit is available direct from the company or through veterinarians.