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I’m Likely In The Minority, But I Love Heat Detecting

Action always seems to be rewarded. Execution seems to be more critical than vision. He who hesitates loses. We all have heard and understand the value of such advice and, as I grow older, it seems clearer that bold action, even if taken in the wrong direction, is preferable to hesitation. Of course, I’m sure the business experts will tell you that there is a balance, standing in the middle of the road tends to lead to getting run over, but it also prevents one from running into the ditch as well.

I love quotes like “working on the business vs. working in the business,” and I believe in Stephen Covey’s advice to work on the important and not just the urgent. However, the day-to-day mode of operation in our business is primarily dealing with the urgent, often neglecting the important until it becomes critically urgent.

That’s exactly why I love heat detecting and artificial insemination (AI) season. First off, I’ll admit that I’ve used heat-detection patches in the past, and even relied almost exclusively on them from time to time. However, if one is going to do a good job of heat detecting, it necessitates expending time.

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Heat detecting forces one to slow down and observe; it also provides the observer with ample time to think. I’m always amazed about the clarity, excitement, and forethought that emerges out of AI season. While I’m a huge believer in AI from a genetic, uniformity and consistency standpoint, I think its greatest contribution to our operation is how it forces us to slow down and think for a couple of hours per day.

Of course, I can race out to the pasture on an ATV and gather hot cows, but doing so cuts down on the long-term strategic planning that is so desperately needed. But saddling up a horse in the early dawn lends to an atmosphere of introspection, and it’s a relaxed sense that continues during the leisurely trot out to the cows and the time spent just sitting there and observing. Heat detection is the one time of the year when quiet time and planning sessions can be greatly reduced, because they occur organically. 

Sometimes it’s good to have a job that takes time, but allows for thought without a lot of other distractions. I can honestly say that after every AI season, my operation is better prepared for the future.

The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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