Gippsland dairyfarmer Peta Barlow knows about herd testing - from both sides of the fence. Ms Barlow works at Yarram Herd Services and also runs a 130-cow dairy herd at nearby Jack River, which is herd tested 12 times a year.
The herd is made up of Holsteins, Aussie Red and Jerseys and milks year round with three distinct calving periods in March, May and July.
"Being on both sides of the Herd Test system gives me a different perspective on the information available from Herd Test reports and the new DataGene Herd Test DashBoard report," Ms Barlow said.
"The Herd Test Dashboard is only relatively new but Yarram Herd Services were involved during its development so I got our herd involved as soon as it was available.
"The Herd Test Dashboard gives you a picture of what is happening in the herd and which cows need closer attention.
"It's a free service and gives you more value from the information collected during herd testing."
The dashboard report covers two pages on the individual herd and is accompanied by two pages that explain the terms, what levels trigger alerts and the action required to deal with alerts identified in the report
The first page of the Herd Test DashBoard gives a herd overview. It sets out the overall herd cell count, the incidence of chronic and clinical mastitis, as well as the percentage of calving time mastitis in cows and heifers, the risk of acidosis and ketosis, recalving intervals at 365 and 400 days and the average cow yield.
It also includes a herd profile with a breakdown of the herd size, including milking cows, fresh cows, drys, culls, sold cows, unidentified sires and the trends that are showing up between reports.
The second page features individual cows that are approaching trigger points for a range of parameters such as individual cell counts mastitis, acidosis, ketosis, recalving intervals and cow yield and can be used by a farmer to follow up with a vet or nutritionist.
"The second page gives me a list of individual cows which are triggering an alert for one or more areas," Ms Barlow said.
"The figures for individual cows features on the second page are all coloured coded according to the severity of the issue, with serious issues shaded red and less serious issues shaded green.
"I can look at trends in the herd between herd tests and also watch individual cows who may stay on the alert page from one month to the next.
"In the past when I only had the usual herd test data I really only looked at cell counts and individual cow figures.
"With the new Herd Test DashBoard I can now see a whole lot of information on the herd -- and on individual cows which need monitoring or attention -- in one report. It's a great management tool because it covers health indicators and performance indicators.
"If a cow gets flagged on the cows' list then I can look at the cow's individual herd test results in more detail and make a decision based on what is going on with the individual cow and what action to take."
Ms Barlow believes the Herd Test Dashboard report would be an asset in larger herds where a number of people were involved in herd management, by simplifying the herd test data and giving everyone involved in the herd a snapshot of what was happening and which cows to monitor.
"The Herd Test Dashboard is a fantastic resource if you had a number of people dealing with a larger herd," Ms Barlow said.
"You can print out copies for everyone or send the report to your staff via email or to their phones. It helps make sure everyone knows what is happening in the herd and which cows needed attention.
"The last two pages can be laminated and left in places like the dairy or staff facilities so people can refer to the descriptions in the report when they need to."
The DataGene Herd Test Dashboard is a free service and can be delivered with herd test reports or whenever requested.
[lastpar]The DataGene Herd Test dashboard was developed by DataGene with the support of Dairy Australia and the Australian herd recording sector.
For more information contact Tony Francis, DataGene phone 0429 006 478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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