DO:

  • Fill out the event as they happen.
  • Transfer the data onto the ICBF website or your farm software weekly or every other week so we can help track the progress of this program.
  • E-mail Health@ICBF.com if you have any problems or need help

 DON’T:

  • Mail your recording sheets to ICBF.
  • Wait too long to transfer the data online.

 

Frequently asked questions about the new health and disease recording program

What is this new health and disease recording program and why should I do it?

Health and disease are an ever increasing cost on Irish cattle farms. Recent work by ICBF and Teagasc has indicated substantial genetic variation in health and disease traits For example; new work by Teagasc indicated a heritability of 18% for TB incidence and 5% for mastitis incidence. This indicates that improvement by genetic means is possible. Until reliable data becomes available for a number of health and disease events we will not be able to address the genetics behind them.

This program is designed to capture on farm health and disease events as they’re happening. By capturing data on farm in real-time we will generate a large volume of good quality data that will go towards creating a health index in the future which can be used to identify superior sires and mating. Only after good quality data is collected can we start working on helping farmers have a healthier herd.

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, make a note of the animal tag, the date, and the ailment in your pocket notebook for future reporting.  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 Health@ICBF.com 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 Health@ICBF.com. 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.

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