Dairy farming

What is Wellness?

Why we need invisible cows

It seems odd to be suggesting we need invisible cows, but these animals are by far and away the most profitable on a farm. So, what makes an invisible cow?

It’s the animal you have who comes in the parlour every day and gives you the milk you need. She has never met the vet apart from a fresh cow check, where she was fine and to confirm she was pregnant when you served her once after her voluntary waiting period. You never really get to know her as you’re not treating her for mastitis, metritis or lameness. You might even forget who she is, but she is your best cow.

What we do know is the invisible cow is the one who is giving you the most profit. She is productive and low cost, this is the animal you need to keep and breed from to ensure your farm is profitable now and into the future.

What we need to know is which heifers will become these cows, heifer rearing is expensive and is one of the top 3 costs on a dairy farm. This is the concept of selecting these animals on wellness and not solely on production. A cow that remains healthy and productive, is always going to outperform one that has the potential to be productive and never fulfils it.

Wellness is key

Wellness is the concept of healthy and active pursuit of a goal. In a farming context this can mean the wellness of the individual cattle or the financial health and sustainability of the farm. With regards to the individual, the health of the animal has the greatest single impact on lifetime productivity. Therefore, investing in wellness is so important as no production trait can improve profitability and longevity more than wellness.

CLARIFIDE Plus has added wellness traits to the genomic offering of standard productivity traits. Adding wellness into genomic testing not only allows you to predict an animal’s potential but will give a prediction on the animal fulfilling that potential.

For the first time in the UK there are proven traits giving the option to understand the genomic potential of animals to remain healthy and hence profitable. CLARIFIDE Plus comes with 6 cow wellness traits and 3 calf wellness traits that are those which make the greatest financial impact on farms.

This, combined with a bespoke index, Dairy Wellness ProfitTM (DWP), gives you the opportunity to select the animals that are going to remain profitable in your herd into the future and produces the offspring you require to drive a profitable business. DWP is an easy-to-use, comprehensive selection index that maximises the ability to rank animals and make strategic genetic selection decisions. DWP incorporates production, reproduction, health, type and wellness making it ideal to base cow selections on.

It is an economic index, that has been proven to work on UK cattle describing differences in lifetime profitability. These economic values come from real UK on farm data, meaning it is relevant to your farm. CLARIFIDE Plus and Dairy Wellness Profit predictions translate into real performance differences, and in fact animals in the top 10% are likely to make over £1000 more lifetime profit for your farm than those in the bottom 10%.

How do I get involved?

Investing in one simple test for each heifer can lead to a life-time of return for you and your herd. CLARIFIDE  testing gives you the key to unlocking profitable heifer management, allowing you to understand which heifers fit with your future farming goals. Helping you to make the correct breeding decisions, also, allowing for sale of those less suited to your strategy, giving you improved cash flow.

For more information on CLARIFIDE and CLARIFIDE Plus visit www.clarifide.co.uk or via your NMR representative. Zoetis has partnered with veterinary practices to create a network of highly-trained vets. By choosing CLARIFIDE, you can access this expertise, making sure that you and your farm get the most benefit from CLARIFIDE testing.