Health and disease recording by farmers has increasingly become an important part of ICBF. While in the past we recorded mastitis and lameness many of the other health events were not factored in. That is all changing. Some farmers were ahead of the game by recording it on their farm software and now ICBF has a way to record the data on the website as well. With two ways to record and share data, there is no reason to not record your health data and share it with ICBF.
Once enough health events have been collected we can start getting down to the business of creating a better health index for farmers to select matings that will result in healthier offspring. This doesn’t mean that all the management put in place to reduce disease can go out the window, but it does mean that if you’re already doing all of that, you decrease the chance of having health problems in your herd even more.
So what happens if you have a health event that doesn’t fall into the categories given on your farm software or the website? There is a code you can use, ZZ for anything that falls into this category. These are some of the things we want to know more about. If there is a disease that isn’t getting recorded because we don’t have it on the website or farm software, please send the diagnosis to [email protected] so we can update our list and share the list with the farm software companies. Without input from our farmers some of these diseases will not make it into the health EBVs. Two diseases that will be added to the list soon are Photosensitization and Contagious Bacterial Eye Infections. These will be added because farmers reported back to us that they were seeing cases but could not report them in the current system.
Without the help of farmers and veterinarians spotting these diseases we will not be able to identify animals with higher chance of succumbing to the disease.
Another approach we’ll be exploring is using the IDB genotyping chip to its full potential. Right now there are 32 validated SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms= single changes in DNA that can be responsible for an animals phenotype) that test for inherited diseases. More of these disease SNPs are available, but they have an additional cost due to intellectual property. We are also working with Teagasc and DAFM to identify more SNPs responsible for genetic diseases in Ireland.
This is where farmers and vets come in. We’re always interested in collecting data on calves that are born with defects or aborted early. You can find the congenital defect survey on the Health and Disease page, you don’t even need to log in to get to it. Below are screen shots of how to get to the congenital defect survey.
If you are already logged in, you can also find it on the record events page in the right hand column.
If you have an animal born with a defect, please take a picture of the animal and e-mail it directly to [email protected] so we can log it into the system and attach it to your survey results.
And for those of you curious about how many tailess calves we had reported this year? 15 tailless animals reported, though the question remains if this is an over abundance of tailess calves this year, or if they’re just being reported more now. So keep up the recording so that this mystery can be solved!
To all of the farmers who are new to recording health and disease events: Thank you! Keep it up and try to enter your events as regularly as you can.
To all of the farmers who have been recording health data and sharing it with ICBF for a while: Thank you for your participation, you all are the leaders in this new endeavor, keep up the good work!
And lastly to farmers not yet recording: give it a try and if you don’t see any benefits or have questions, let us know at [email protected].