DHI services in Canada recently achieved an historic milestone with the addition of its 500th robotic herd on milk recording. With 9,000 total DHI herds in Canada, robotic herds are rapidly becoming an important and sizeable segment for DHI.
According to Richard Cantin, DHI’s Manager of Marketing and Customer Services, “It was roughly 15 years ago when we did the first North American DHI sampling in a robotic system. It was new to us back then and the learning curve was very steep, but today DHI testing in robotic systems has become fairly routine.”
Individual cows’ milk samples are collected through an automated sampling device on test day. From the robot software, samples are matched back to the respective cows and then sent on the the DHI lab for testing.
DHI services are a great complement to the on farm data, which when combined together makes a very powerful management information package. “For DHI, the challenge is to ensure we can both add to and complement the on farm data so dairy managers and their advisors have the best possible information available for making decisions” states Cantin.
Whether it is lab services such as fat, protein, SCC, MUN, Ketoscreen, Johne’s, Leukosis, BVD, contagious Mastitis and pregnancy testing or calculated information such as BCAs, lactation totals, lifetime production, rankings and benchmarking or yet again the ability to participate in AI incentive programs, genetic evaluation and official breed programs, DHI has lots to offer and can bring excellent value and payback to robotic herds.
Cantin concludes, “It’s hard to predict how popular and widely adopted robotic milking will become on Canadian farms, but no doubt it will play a significant role in our industry. We’re pleased to count a large number of robotic farms as our customers and to be part of their herd management solution, today and into the future.”
CanWest DHI is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 Herd Management Score award for Ontario is Larenwood Farms owned and operated by Chris, Grant and Dan McLaren of Drumbo, in Oxford County.
With a score of 985 out of a possible 1,000 points, the McLarens have acheived superior performance across all aspects of herd management. Their 2014 Score was also tops for the entire CanWest region (Ontario to British Columbia), which encompasses 4,000 DHI herds.
The McLarens were excited. “We knew the herd was improving and doing well, but we did not expect to be recognized with the top score. We were surprised and humbled by the news.”
The DHI Herd Management Score allocates points for performance in 6 different
management areas and is an excellent barometer of overall herd performance. It is a great tool for monitoring overall herd performance from year to year and also allows herds to benchmark themselves against others.
The McLarens, with a milking herd of 90 Holsteins, attribute their herd management
success to many things. “There is no silver bullet, it’s a lot of little things adding up,” says Chris. He adds, “Three years ago we moved from a tie-stall to a new free-stall setup with sand bedding and we’ve seen production, udder health and longevity steadily improve.”
An important part of their approach is attending meetings, exchanging ideas with other dairy farmers and partnering with the University of Guelph to run research trials.
CanWest DHI also extends congratulations to Summitholm Holstein of Lynden in
Wentworth County, who were second in the province and Brakke Farm, of Grand Valley in Dufferin County, who ranked third.