If you use a program like feedwatch to help monitor dry matter intakes, but don’t always have accurate pen counts, then the data you get back are nothing but junk, explains Greg Bethard, of G&R Dairy Consulting in Wytheville, Va. For example, if the report tells you that dry matter intake is down in the fresh-cow pen, it would generally indicate a developing problem. However, in reality, you may find that the pen count is off because five cows were moved out of the pen. That means you wasted time investigating a problem that didn’t really exist. If you are going to monitor dry matter intakes, you must invest in accurate pen counts.