Herd recording is a key strategy for better management. ABARE figures indicate that farms that herd
test regularly are 16% more productive and 10% more profitable than their neighbours who don’t.
As well as the direct benefit to the farmer herd testing…its benefits also flow throughout the industry.
Having regular feedback on cows’ productivity with herd testing can lead to lower production costs through more timely decisions about health, feeding, culling etc. Informed managers can make timely decisions with confidence. Recent data shows that farms which use herd testing average 2500 more litres per cow, with 0.3% higher butterfat yields and 0.4% higher protein yields than non-herd tested farms. In addition, they average 150,000 fewer somatic cells in the milk. Productivity gains such as these can be attributed to the extra information gathered from herd testing.
A strong message from the last drought was that farmers who maintained their herd management at high levels were better equipped to bounce back the following season. Herd recording is a key strategy for better management.
When using herd testing, farmers can pinpoint the cows in the herd which are not pulling their weight – those with consistently high cell counts, or low producers. They can cull accordingly, and as a result, herds which are tested regularly are more uniform, with higher milk receipts per cow on average than non-herd tested herds.
Contributing to the industry
As well as the direct benefit to the farmer herd testing, its benefits also flow throughout the industry.
Genetics contribute 35% of all productivity gains in the industry, and continued gain relies on herd testing data. Through herd testing, the industry identifies bulls with superior genetics for use in AI programs. Thus herd testing data also benefits the 90% of farmers who use AI semen in their breeding programs.
Mastitis monitoring and control is more effective in herd-tested herds, where individual subclinical as well as clinical cases can be identified. Cows can be treated in a timely manner so farmers can reduce the cost of mastitis treatment and increase milk yields, as well as reaping the benefits of producing milk of higher quality.
Countdown Downunder information tells us that moving from an average annual BMCC of 250,000cells/ml to 150,000cells/ml will deliver an average net benefit of $47 per cow per year – in a 250 cow herd, that’s equivalent to almost $12,000 in your pocket for the year. The benefits are cumulative! If the herd BMCC was shifted from an average of 250,000 to 50,000cells/ml, then the average net benefit becomes $71 per cow per year, or $17,750 for the same 250 cow herd.
Lowering BMCC pays for herd testing many times over. Regardless of your current BMCC, any decrease is of value. You will also be saving time, by having to treat fewer cases of mastitis.
Talk to our staff today about the range of reports available, whether it be on a monthly or annual report basis, you will be surprised at the number of reports available that could help you make informed decisions.