We are pleased to announce that C.O.W. (Cow’s Own Worth), a brand-new service from HerdPlus, has been awarded the silver award in Science at the National Dairy Innovation Awards. The National Dairy Innovation Awards are run in conjunction with the National Dairy Show at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet on 20th of October. The award rewards a new product or service, which has been launched in the past 12 months, that has revolutionised some aspect of dairy farming.
C.O.W. was added to the suite of services delivered through HerdPlus less than a year ago and has achieved a vast uptake in use, with over 1,100 herds using the service last month (September) alone.
C.O.W. is a unique service that can rank dairy cows within the herd on their expected profit performance for the remainder of their lifetime by collating readily available data in the ICBF database. Therefore, C.O.W. aids in making more profitable management decision by easily identifying underperforming cows within the herd. As a result, farmers can make more informed daily management decisions on culling and retention of animals.
HerdPlus attended the day to meet with farmers to promote the use of C.O.W and partake in the Science section of the National Dairy Innovation Awards. C.O.W. has been particularly influential in aiding in culling decisions of cows due to the challenging year experienced this year due to fodder shortages and drought conditions. Many visitors to the stand had used C.O.W. during this crisis. Other visitors on the day, who were new the C.O.W. concept, were invited to test the profile in order to demonstrate why certain cows were ranked as the least profitable in their herd and displayed at the bottom of the list on the C.O.W. profile. Each case was used to show how C.O.W. operates and display valid reasonings as to why those candidates would be considered for culling. For example, cows ranked at the bottom of the list were usually cows with late expected calving dates for 2019, had SCC issues from the past and/or on-going SCC issues, cows with low milk solids etc.
One of the key factors to ensure you get the best from your C.O.W. profile is to keep your records up-to-date. Milk recording information is automatically retrieved from the ICBF database so there is no action required by the farmer, however, the onus is on the farmer to keep fertility and health records as relevant as possible when planning on identifying cows to cull. For example, the last AI serve on a cow will be used in C.O.W. to predict her next calving date and rank her against her herd mates accordingly. A subsequent pregnancy diagnosis might verify the last serve date or invalidate it, in which case the C.O.W. profile would re-rank this cow based on the new information provided. C.O.W. is instantaneous and will re-rank the herd live. Therefore, the farmer has a more accurate picture of cows expected profitability
Overall, the response to C.O.W. has been very positive since its launch last year, on the 31st October 2017, with farmers agreeing the cows ranking at the bottom are there on merit. This silver award is a fantastic achievement and highlights the scientific basis of C.O.W. as well as the practicality of its objective to the end user. This award is greatly appreciated and we would like to thank the judges, organisers of the innovation awards and all who came to visit us on the day.