Frequently asked questions about the new health and disease recording program

What can I use this data for and when will it be useful to me?

This data can be used a few different ways. Immediately farmers will be able to track animals that fall ill on a regular basis and use this data for culling. It can also serve as a reminder as to when an animal was treated for a particular illness. Once enough data has been collected, ICBF will work towards making a comprehensive health index to be used by producers to breed the most robust cattle possible. To do this, it requires a whole lot of data so we are counting on you to record all events and record them often.

If we have enough participation in the program we are hoping to approach DAFM and Board Bia and ask what would be required for the health and disease program to fulfill their requirements for remedies and quality control. It is our hope that we can work together to create a program that would reduce duplication and work for the farmers while still maintaining the highest level of farming integrity.

How much will this program cost me?

Nothing! The program is free for farmers.

Why do you want to know my vet’s information?

We believe that veterinarians are an important component of helping to keep your herd healthy. By making your data available to your veterinarian it will give them the opportunity to review any events that have happened recently and be prepared to help you reduce the number of events in the future, especially if you’re developing a herd health plan. Veterinary inclusion is also important because 3 of the events noted on the cow chart require veterinary diagnosis. If we have a record of which vet you are using we can make them aware of the program and how they can use it to help you. In the future we would like to incorporate remedies into the health and disease recording program to help farmers identify animals that are more costly than others and identify if certain illnesses are more common than others on the farm.

How often should I enter my data into the ICBF website or my farm software?

Because we’re wanting to monitor health and disease in real-time we recommend entering the data electronically at least once every two weeks, but preferably once a week or more. By frequently updating your herd we can start the process of identifying sires of interest as the data comes in. This will also help us identify times of year when more events occur which will help with future farm management.

What about other diseases not listed in the provided health codes?

We are currently targeting the specific events listed on the charts, but we encourage farmers to record anything they’re comfortable with. If you do not have a corresponding code in the chart, record the animal as ZZ, and make a note of the animal tag and the ailment in your pocket notebook. Alternatively you can e-mail the tag number, date and diagnosis to [email protected]. We are keeping a list of these sorts of events and as different events are reported, we will adjust the charts accordingly to serve the widest group of farmers.

If I sell my animal, does the data go with it?

Yes, the data will be available to the new owner if they choose to look at it.

What if I need help or have suggestions about the program?

You are welcome to e-mail [email protected] or call HerdPlus 023 8820452 any time you need help. Suggestions and comments on the program will be easier to compile if they are e-mailed to [email protected]. In addition, we will periodically be sending out surveys to make sure participants are comfortable with the program and help identify ways to make this a more helpful tool for farmers.