Tools to make herd recording easier

03 Jun, 2017 04:00 AM
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A sample of the Herd Test Dashboard report. DataGene is releasing.
Most farmers have smartphones now so the HerdData app is a convenient way to capture information.
A sample of the Herd Test Dashboard report. DataGene is releasing.

DataGene - the dairy industry's new organisation to drive herd improvement - has released two new tools to make it easier for farmers to use herd records for management decisions.

The HerdData App and the Herd Test Dashboard were previewed at the Herd 17 conference.

They are the first tools to be released by DataGene since it took over the roles of genetic evaluation (formerly done by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme [ADHIS]) and herd-recording software development in 2016.

HerdData is a smartphone app that makes it easy for farmers to enter herd records on a mobile device. DataGene chief executive officer Dr Matt Shaffer said the app would save farmers making notes in the paddock or dairy and then entering them onto the farm computer.

"Most farmers have smartphones now so the HerdData app is a convenient way to capture information wherever you are," he said. "It also allows the farmer to view key information about individual cows that might be needed in the paddock or dairy."

Mark Billing, who milks about 450 cows near Colac in Western Victoria, said he was looking forward to having a way to enter herd information wherever he was on the farm or in the dairy.

"We will be able to make much better use of the data we collect and our records will be more complete," Mr Billing said.

HerdData is available for android or apple devices.

The Herd Test Dashboard is a new report for those dairyfarmers who herd test, providing a picture of what's happening at the herd level.

It provides a herd level summary focusing on indicators for acidosis/ketosis, mastitis and re-calving. While some of this information has been available in individual cow reports, the Dashboard enables farmers and their vet or nutritionist to monitor trends across the herd. The Dashboard includes alerts enabling farmers to take action early, before clinical signs are observed.

Northern Victorian dairyfarmer Tim Humphris is expecting his first Dashboard report any day and expects it to become an important management tool for his 350-cow herd.

"It's going to be really useful to have a list of 'alert cows' for key issues such as mastitis, acidosis/ketosis and re-calving interval," Mr Humphris said.

A trained vet, Mr Humphris is particularly interested in having greater insight into acidosis and ketosis risk.

"I suspect there is a lot of undiagnosed ketosis in Australian dairy herds so I'm keen to be able to identify the risk at a cow and herd level and intervene long before we see clinical signs," he said. "Early intervention has the potential to have a big impact on both production and fertility."

The Dashboard is available free through herd test centres.

HerdData and the Herd Test Dashboard were developed by Dairy Australia and refined by DataGene, an initiative of Dairy Australia and the herd improvement industry.

For more information about Herd Data or the Herd Test Dashboard, contact Tony Francis at DataGene, phone 0429 006 478, email tfrancis@datagene.com.au.

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