Understand which cows are contributing to the bulk milk somatic cell count (SCC) problems. Herd Testing quickly detects mastitis and is critical in assisting the farmer to prevent mastitis from becoming an issue. It avoids lost production due to infection and is the most effective way to identify which cows should be culled. Herd Testing will also help assess the effectiveness of dry cow therapy and teat sealant programmes.
Reducing mastitis-related costs in your herd by Herd Testing could have a significant impact on production, profitability and animal health. Read more about Mastitis.
Culling enables you to create a higher value milking herd through retention of the most profitable animals and removal of stock at the ‘bottom’ of the herd.
Drying off decisions
Drying off with the relevant information at hand allows you to identify which cows need to be dried off first, so returns can be maximised by allocating grass to higher producing animals. It also allows for selective dry cow treatment rather than blanket treatments. The savings from performing selective rather than blanket dry cow treatments are significant and in many cases would pay for four herd tests or more.
Once-A-Day vs Twice-A-Day management
Once-A-Day (OAD) milking is taking off in New Zealand. Without herd testing you will have no way to effectively benchmark the performance of animals under the two systems.
Herd Testing is essential to identify which animals perform best under an OAD scenario because the best Twice-A-Day (TAD) cows may not be the best OAD cows. It is also vital to monitor SCC as this may increase under an OAD system.
Selecting the best cows for selective mating, or mating to top bulls, can be done to increase genetic gain and/or reduce the generation interval. Also, cost savings can be made through identifying which animals are better suited to being inseminated with beef-pak semen or using Short Gestation Length (SGL) semen to help tighten calving patterns.