C.O.W. – Celebrating 1 Year in Operation

ICBF and Teagasc launched C.O.W. (Cow’s Own Worth), a new online decision tool to aid in culling and retention decisions of dairy females on the 31st of October 2017.

The C.O.W. (Cow’s Own Worth) facility has had over 20,000 individual hits since it’s launch a year ago. This is an impressive statistic and shows just how much dairy farmers, including people from the breeding industry value C.O.W.

C.O.W. was added to the suite of services delivered through HerdPlus 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 recently attended the Irish National Dairy Show to meet with farmers to promote the use of C.O.W and partake in the Science section of the National Dairy Innovation Awards where C.O.W. was awarded the silver award. 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.

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. We look forward to the next 12 months.