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C.O.W. launch event, 31st Oct 2017, Moorepark, Co. Cork.

ICBF and Teagasc launched a new decision support tool, the C.O.W. (Cow’s Own Worth), to aid in culling and retention decisions of dairy females on the 31st of October. The launch took place at the Paddy O’Keeffe Innovation Centre, Teagasc Moorepark with a line of speakers including Prof. Pat Dillon (Teagasc), Dr. Margaret Kelleher (ICBF), Prof. Donagh Berry (Teagasc), Alan Jagoe (split-calving farmer), Fiachra Liston (spring-calving farmer), Dr. Doreen Corridan (Munster) and Prof. Dorian Garrick (Massey University, New Zealand) and Sean Coughlan (CEO ICBF) chairing the session. The event was attended by industry members and pilot herd farmers that participated in the development of the new decision support tool.

The C.O.W. is a new on-line support tool that instantly ranks dairy cows on their expected future profit potential based on the most up-to-date information available. Farmers can quickly identify under-performing cows and choose cull candidates and keep the most profitable cows in the herd. This has the potential to improve herd profitability.

The initial research for the C.O.W. project took place at Teagasc Moorepark in collaboration with the ICBF and AbacusBio Ltd. Results from the study showed that the C.O.W. was able to rank cows in order of most profitable to least and thereby identify underperforming cows in the herd. The ICBF developed this research further and trialled the C.O.W. on approximately 200 herds and received farmer feedback through surveys which was later used to design and implement the new C.O.W. decision support tool now available on-line.

The C.O.W. profile can be accessed by logging onto your HerdPlus account at under the ‘View Profiles’ tab. Here the C.O.W. will generate in seconds, retrieving all current and past information on your cows, while making predictions on future performance in the herd. Cows that are under-performing will be ranked at the bottom of the list and may be considered for culling. For more information please click on the below link; https://www.icbf.com/?p=9448

“Our strength in the Irish system is collaboration” Dr. Doreen Corridan remarked and the C.O.W. is a perfect example of research, industry, and farmers coming together to create something useful for the industry. This is only the first version of C.O.W. and it is anticipated that there will be further developments in the future to enhance the service.

ICBF and Teagasc would like to thank everyone who has helped to progress the C.O.W. to this stage and very much look forward to the successful role out of this support tool.