A lot of factors affect estrous behavior in beef cows. Understanding basic cattle behavior can help you identify more cattle in estrus when artificial insemination time roles around.


  • The type of ground surface affects estrous activity. Research in North Carolina compared estrous activity of cows that were watched every eight hours for 30 minutes on dirt and another 30 minutes on grooved concrete. Mounting and standing behavior nearly doubled when cows were heat-checked on dirt.
  • Cow density can cause a problem if cows are over crowded-resulting in false standing heats because they do not have room to avoid being mounted.
  • Temperature also can be a factor. Research at Virginia shows that as maximum daily temperature increased to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, mounting activity increased. Temperatures above 85 degrees F resulted in less mountings.
  • The status of herd mates affects mounting behavior. Pregnant cows are least likely to mount a cow in heat. Rely on open, cycling herdmates to detect heat the most.
  • Nutrition affects estrous behavior. Cows that lost the most weight or are in the lowest body condition tend to show the lowest level of sexual behavior.
  • The frequency of mounting is considerably higher when
    more than one cow is in heat or approaching heat at the same time.