The HerdPlus service C.O.W. (Cow’s Own Worth) scooped the silver award in Science at the National Dairy Innovation Awards last weekend.

The National Dairy Innovation Awards are run in conjunction with the National Dairy Show at the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet on Saturday, October 20.

The award recognises a new product or service, launched in the past 12 months, that has “revolutionised some aspect of dairy farming”.

C.O.W. was added to the suite of services delivered through HerdPlus less than a year ago and has achieved a “vast uptake in use”, according to the firm, reporting over 1,100 herds using the service in the month of September alone.

C.O.W. ranks dairy cows within the herd on their expected profit performance for the remainder of their lifetime by collating data in the ICBF database, making it easier to identify underperforming cows within the herd.

As a result, farmers can “make more informed daily management decisions on culling and retention of animals”, according to the ICBF.

HerdPlus attended the day to meet with farmers to promote the use of C.O.W. and partake in the Science section of the National Dairy Innovation Awards.

According to the company, many visitors to the stand had used C.O.W. over the summer, with culling more in focus due to drought conditions and fodder shortages.

Other visitors on the day, who were new the C.O.W. concept, were invited to test the profile in order to demonstrate why certain cows were ranked as the least profitable in their herd and displayed at the bottom of the list on the C.O.W. profile.

The system

Each case was used to show how C.O.W. operates and display valid reasonings as to why those candidates would be considered for culling.

In many cases, cows ranked at the bottom of the list are usually cows with late expected calving dates for 2019, had somatic cell count (SCC) issues from the past and/or on-going SCC issues, cows with low milk solids etc.

One of the key factors to ensure farmers get the best from their C.O.W. profiles is to keep one’s records up-to-date, according to HerdPlus.

Milk recording information is automatically retrieved from the ICBF database so there is no action required by the farmer; however, the onus is on the farmer to keep fertility and health records as relevant as possible when planning on identifying cows to cull.