Permanent identification is an important management tool for all segments of the dairy industry. The topic earns its own section in the Dairy Animal Care Quality Assurance manual, where emerging technology such as electronic identification and retinal scans is encouraged when practical.
And, it’s becoming more practical all the time. The cost of electronic identification, also known as radio frequency identification or RFID, is declining as speed and performance improve.
Hand-in-hand with that permanent identification comes documentation — records showing compliance in all aspects of management that can not only assure consumers they’re getting the safest possible product but make life easier for your customers.
Keeping good records helps dairy producers manage variables — from genetics and health to performance and profitability. For example:
- With today’s narrow profit margins, correct inventory management is essential. Inventory and usage records can point out inefficiencies, theft and negligence.
- Animal health products are costly. Accurate records can highlight inefficiencies on an animal by-animal basis and prevent ineffective treatments. It also tells the veterinarian the treatments administered, so he or she can validate treatment recommendations and adjust treatment regimens, as animals and environmental conditions change.
- Performance, value, quality and profitability improve when health, production, reproduction and other important data are monitored and recorded for dairy animals through each stage of growth.
- Records and identification are essential for value-added milk and beef markets. Sample record keeping forms may be found in the Dairy Animal Care Quality Assurance Section VI and available from your program coordinator.
Computerized and hand-written records can be equally effective; however, the best system is the one that works for you and your calf growing operation.
Read more on animal identification, record keeping or other quality assurance topics.