Biological Risk Management Survey Yields Additional Results

Dale Thoreson, Dairy/Beef/Forages Field Specialist, Northeast

Problem Statement:

Improving dairy herd health is one of the five major Plan of Work objectives of the Dairy Team. Measuring the impact of the 40 Iowa BRM surveys we did in June of 2007 has been rather difficult. One method is to examine changes in DHI data from the time of the individual farm surveys to sometime in the future.

Programmatic Response:

A local CEED and I conducted the BRM surveys on 8 or the 40 herds. Each received a follow up farm visit (some included their veterinarian) to show the results of the evaluation and areas they could improve herd risk management. Seven of the herds had accessible DHI records at the time of the survey and again in December of 2009. A comparison of change in their Somatic Cell Count was completed.


The current SCC is listed verses the Somatic Cell Count at the time we did the BRM in June of ’07 for 7 of the 8 herds. The first number is the 06-2007 herd SCC

Herd 1; 421,000 on 342 cows verses 206,000 on 380 cows

          2; 391,000 on 332 cows verses 190,000 on 349 cows

          3; 404,000 on 286 cows verses 368,000 on 324 cows

          4; 303,000 on 194 cows and 94 days in milk verses 439,000 on 157 cows but 250 DIM on this seasonal calving spring herd

          5; 553,000 on 112 cows verses 126,000 on 118 cows

          6; 295,000 on 68 cows verses 217,000 on 73 cows

          7; 541,000 on 140 cows verses 409,000 on 299 cows

The pro-rated average on 6-07 on 1474 cows was 411, 285 versus the 12-08 average on 1700 cows of 285,732. With a conservative $15 per hundredweight milk price and a  0.0008/cwt SCC premium from the creamery this equals $82,837 more milk income per year or just short of $50 more per cow.

Assessment of potential improvements along with suggested methods of implementing those improvements can result in significant increase in milk income, just from Co-op premiums not to mention the typical increase in milk due to less infection, less mastitis drugs used and potentially less culling due to udder infections.


110 Dairy

Page last updated: April 6, 2009
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,