A new profile screen to view recorded liveweights on dairy cows quickly and easily is now available for HerdPlus users. This new profile will also allow herd-owners to access the kg milk solids per kg liveweight figure (kgMS/kgLW).  This figure can be used to identify cows that are producing milk solids most efficiently.

The current level of weight recording on dairy herds is low and it’s an area for improvement. Higher levels of data recording are required to improve cow efficiency accuracy.  Increasing the number of farmers to record dairy cow weights is of key importance to enhance animal productivity but also to breed a more environmentally sustainable national dairy herd for the future. 

What are the benefits of weighing milking cows?

Weighing milking cows has many benefits at both farm and industry level. Cow liveweight is the trait used to measure the maintenance sub-index in the EBI. The maintenance sub-index of the EBI represents 8% of the total euro value of the EBI and it gives an indication of the expected cost of growing a replacement and maintaining her as a cow in a dairy herd based on her genetic make-up. The maintenance sub index can project the associated liveweight of an animal. A higher maintenance sub index equates to a smaller cow, one which typically has a lower maintenance cost.

The benefits of recording cow liveweights will increase the reliability of the Maintenance sub-index for the herd over time. It will also increase the reliability of future AI sires for the Maintenance sub index. This in turn, will help to identity the best sires for this trait and to maximise genetic gain for dairy farmers. Cow liveweight is also one the traits used for calculating the carbon sub-index. 

Farmers that routinely milk record throughout the year and weigh their cows in mid-lactation, will get a kg milk solids per kg liveweight (kgMS/kgLW) figure calculated. This helps to identify the most efficient animals within their herd to increase performance and farm profitability while at the same time, improve the environmental footprint for herd in the future. A cow with a high liveweight will be less efficient than a lower liveweight animal with similar production. The profile includes a summary table to assess cow efficiency based on the average Kg Milk solids per Kg Liveweight by lactation.  

How are the kg milk solids per kg liveweight kgMS/kgLW figure calculated?

The kgMS/kgLW figure is calculated using the last recorded weight on the cow and the 305d prediction for fat and protein Kgs from the current milk recording test. After 180 days in milk, this will switch to the actual figure from the milk recording data on the animal. 

Example of kgMS/kgLW calculation: Cow A had a weight (540 kg) and her 305d prediction is 494 kg/Ms. The kgMS/kgLW is 0.91.

Some useful benefits to the farmer when using this profile screen include:
• Access a specific animal weight quickly and easily.
• Animals can be sorted and filtered in this profile.
• Profile can be downloaded to Excel and PDF formats.
• Click on the blue figures to view even more information on the animal. E.g., Lactation Summary, Fertility, Ancestry data etc.
• Click on the Jumbo/Freezebrand to view previously recorded liveweights on the animals.
• The summary table displays cow efficiency by lactation.
• This profile is also available on the HerdPlus app.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to access this profile.

  1. Go to www.icbf.com and login to your HerdPlus account using your username and password.

2. Under the ‘View Profiles’ drop down, select ‘Heifer and Cow Weight’ under the dairy profiles.

The screenshot above illustrates the screen, and the user will see. Click on the animal number to view more details. Note: All the columns can be filtered to analyse liveweights more closely. The data in the columns can also be sorted into ascending or descending order by clicking on the column heading. The profile can be downloaded to excel and PDF format.
We hope you find this new profile a useful improvement to view liveweights on your dairy cows. It is beneficial for farmers to weigh cows at least once during their time in the milking herd.

If you have any questions, or if you have any comments or feedback, please contact HerdPlus on 023-8820452 or email [email protected].