With a properly set-up software program, you can save time and effort by eliminating unnecessary steps. Your software program, when running correctly, can help you ensure that the correct cows appear on the right lists, order your lists by pen and cow number and give you extra space to write any notes in the report.
Are you able to check key reproductive parameters easily with your farm software?
If a dairy is manually tracking its reproduction program, it has to rely heavily on pregnancy check results. However, a good software program can supply a dairy operation with much more information throughout the month.
If you have a reproductive problem in your herd and you only rely on the results from pregnancy checks as your main information, you don’t know if the problem stems from a low heat detection rate or low conception rate.
With computerized records, you can track actual conception results and current service rates to better define problems and set up specific action plans with your consultants – all with the click of a few buttons!
As a side note, make sure you are able to break conception rate results apart and look at conception rate by lactation number, technician, breeding codes or triggers, pen number, times bred, milk production level or any other criteria you choose. This way, you will be able to pin point fertility issues more precisely.
Figure 1. An example of a confusing, hand-written list of cows to receive Pre-Synch/Ovsynch shots. A herd management computer program would sort out cows that don’t need to be on this list and order cows by pen and ID number.
Can you easily share a backup data file with your consultant?
This is a major issue. Many herds want their consultants to closely monitor their reproductive and herd health parameters. Consultants can easily obtain this information by getting a backup of each dairy’s computer records.
Also, some software programs have great options for built-in, predefi ned reports and benchmarks as well as great support on their website, which can be used to compare your dairy to other dairies of a similar size and region.
Figure 2. Example of a clear report of cows to be examined, ordered by pen and ID number. Notice that the ID number is repeated at beginning and at the end of each line to avoid mistakes when writing comments for a particular cow.
Do you have quick access to reliable customer support?
This is a very important detail when selecting a computer program. Surprisingly, many dairies have incorrect settings within their management programs, causing numerous, timewasting problems. Having reliable customer support to correct these issues will make your daily activities much easier. Make sure you have good support.