Recently Dr. Scott Tripp made a list of Herd Management suggestions to help managers determine how efficient their herds operate. One of the suggestions was about invisible cows. He said, “I always want a whole herd of invisible cows… these are the cows that don’t get sick, breed back, and are never seen.”
The invisible cows also have their opposite - what Dr. Tripp calls the welfare cow. These are the cows you want to identify… you don’t want to breed them; you need to stop milking them and get rid of them. The question is - how do I find these cows?
Health Records to the Rescue
If you have been keeping cow records for a long time, chances are you’ve seen the benefits of keeping careful records. In the last several years there has been a big push to keep detailed health and treatment records for cows—as this information is being incorporated into genetics. But as you may have already seen, there are huge benefits to adding detailed health records into your normal data recording routines.
One recent addition to the DHI-Plus software is a series of new mnemonics that enhance the reporting in health records. I am talking about Health Counts which is a way to count the number of health and disease related items in your herd. If you are looking for welfare cows (or even the invisible cows), this is a great way to approach it.
Health Count Reports
Do you want to know how many mastitis incidents there are in the herd? Do you want to find the possible cull cows because of a large number of treatments for transition diseases? Health Counts provide this data in a custom report.
If this sounds useful and you would like to learn more about how to get started with Health Counts, you can download the DHI-Plus Health Counts guide or contact customer service.
An Example of Invisible Cows
In the following video, I recorded a quick video to demonstrate Health Count reports in action:
Of course, all of this is made possible because of good health records. The health and care of your animals is a priority, so I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom: If it’s not recorded, it didn’t happen!