In the best systems only raw data (not calculated) is collected (ie: ID, dates, pen, milk, etc.) from the dairy management software and basic calculations for disease rates, cost accounting, etc., can be performed outside of the dairy management software. Almost all dairy management software systems have a way to get data out. “This is perhaps the most important aspect these days since many software companies have restricted or limited the input of data into their own program such as DC305 and others.” Goodell adds that dairy management software tends to define things differently within the program so that comparing between programs really isn’t possible.
“In some cases all a producer wants to know is the success rate of a treatment and the cost of a treatment,” he says. “Once DTR and recurrence are covered, it is a simple function to input costs.” Many dairy software packages claim to be able to get this data however to this point nothing used to date gets the job done, Goodell says.
Goodell offers this advice for setting up monitoring systems for dairy diseases. “Keep it simple and concisely defined for farm personnel. The upfront time put in to get this started is rewarded over and over again as these ‘customized’ monitoring programs are put in place for an individual dairy. It typically generates another revenue source for the veterinarian and delivers high quality decision- making tools to the producer.
“Finally remember that the resulting case definition defined for the dairy may not be the text book case definition of the disease, but when defined simply and treatment protocols defined around the case definition, the health of the animal is usually improved and goals for the dairy are more often met.”
Sidebar: Steps in monitoring disease
Greg Goodell, DVM, says that systematically, setting up a mastitis monitoring program would go something like this:
1. Identify the goals of the producer (is it BTSCC under 100K or BTSCC under 300K?).
2. Define case definition as described above (health of the cow, ability of the farm personnel to identify disease and the most prevalent presentation).
3. Define treatment protocols to treat the identified disease (additionally quality control is implemented and defined).
4. Define how this disease is recorded.
5. Define action points when disease rates are not meeting goals set by producers.