A day in the life of... Mark Critchlow

Cogent Precision Artificial Insemination (AI) Technician, Mark Critchlow arrives on his first farm at 6am every morning, and he says a cup of coffee is always waiting for him.

Mark has worked at Cogent for the last three and a half years and visits the same five farms every day, which comprise over 1,000 cows, offering a full fertility service. He takes care of everything from heat detection and insemination to fertility data analysis and advice.

The PrecisionREPRO service utilises a combination of walking and chalking the cows and other heat detection aids such as Cogent’s PrecisionCOW collars, which offer a complete heat detection system plus the added benefit of health monitoring.

Mark says: “I chalk half of the cows on my round and use alternative heat detection aids on the other half. For those herds which use collars or pedometers I am able to access all their data from my mobile phone.”

Mark Critchlow

Mark checks the apps to see if any cows have been flagged up as in heat before heading to the shed.

“I have a good relationship with all my farmers which is part of the job, communication is key, we are always discussing how we can improve things. I am part of the farm team and create lists for pregnancy diagnosis, drying off and for vet visits,” he says.

After kitting up in carefully disinfected waterproof clothing and wellies he makes his way to the cows to walk among them looking for any disturbance to the chalk he applied the day before and any obvious changes in behaviour or physical appearance which may indicate oestrus. Those cows which have flagged up as in heat are served with the bull they have been designated.

From late April a further three spring block calving herds are included in his round contributing an additional 1,400 cows. Although he does not manage the heat detection on these farms, he arrives at a set time, serves any cows which are in heat, and checks any cows which are suspected to be in heat.

After visiting all his farms Mark arrives home by mid-afternoon and spends a couple of hours uploading data from the day’s round, including services and calving data.

Mark is also involved in quarterly fertility reviews along with each farm’s designated Genetic Consultant.