Importance of Health Data Recording for breeding better Dairy Cows

Based on figures calculated by Animal Health Ireland’s Cell Check Quick Calculator, the cost of mastitis for a herd averaging 300-400,000 cells/mL is estimated at €186.26/cow/year. For a 100-cow herd, this amounts to a staggering €18,626 reduction in profit.

The total cost of every case of lameness is estimated at €300 once treatment costs and loss of production are all taken into account as demonstrated at the 2016 National Dairy conference. These are significant losses in profit which could otherwise be going to dairy farmers if addressed.

One way to improve mastitis and lameness in the herd is to breed replacements using Sires which are genetically more resistant to these diseases. ICBF needs farmers to record this valuable data so that it can be factored into future EBI evaluations. Dairy females with temperament issues can also be recorded with ICBF.  The recording of mastitis has increased importance in terms of Selective Dry Cow Treatment SDCT . There is lots of valuable health data locked away in dairy farmer notebooks and unless it’s recorded in the ICBF database, it cannot be factored into EBI evaluations.

ICBF is asking all dairy farmers to record mastitis, lameness and milking temperament using the “Record Health & Temperament Screen” under “Record events” (see screenshots below). This survey data should only take a few minutes to complete. HerdPlus members can also use our App to record this data while out on farm.

The EBI has already delivered an estimated €587 million in additional profit to the sector, primarily through gains in milk and fertility. Recording this health and temperament information will help improve the reliability of the health and management sub-indexes of the national herd and will better place the Irish dairy sector to select the next generation of high health, easy management AI sires which will ultimately leave more profit for Irish dairy farmers in the future.

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