Editor’s note: The following column was written by dairy nutritionist Greg Bethard who works with Dairy Records Management Systems in Raleigh, N.C.

It is a well-known fact that animals get sick on dairies and often require treatment. Increasing attention surrounding specific treatment details is creating the need for thorough documentation on farm. Tracking treatments is relatively easy using Activity Tracker in PCDART, as long as the following information is captured:

  • Treatment records
  • Disease incidence
  • Drug usage

By using the Remark system along with Health Conditions in PCDART, you can answer questions in all three areas with a single entry system. It requires organized and consistent entry of data into PCDART. The 15-character Remark field that is available each time a health event is entered. When entered, the Remark is associated with that event. A good example is mastitis. It is normally best to use one code for all mastitis events, and use a Remark to designate the quarter, bug and drug. Once the mastitis event (say 35) is entered, you have the option to enter a remark. If the following criteria are used in the remark, you can answer many more questions:

  • First two characters are the quarter (RR, LF, etc.)
  • Next four characters are the bug (ECOL, MYCO, STAP, STRP, COLI, etc.)
  • Last nine characters are the drug (SPECT, PEN, etc.)

An example is “LRSTAPPEN”, which would be a left rear quarter with Staph treated with penicillin. Remark files can be set up to help automate the process. You can design a similar remark system for other diseases such as metritis, foot treatments or digestive issues. Once these codes are entered, you can use the Activity Intervals and Remark Filter in Activity Tracker to answer specific questions. Want to learn more about Activity Tracker, Remark Filter, and Activity Intervals? Log on to your account at www.drms.org and view the YouTube videos and help documents or call to set up an account.