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Video 47 Dairy herd health planning

We all know the value of setting goals for ourselves and our businesses. Without a plan though goals can be difficult to achieve. From the outset dairy herd health planning must be an evolving process. The most important person to buy into this is the farmer. We are lucky on dairy farms to have so many benchmarks generated for us automatically by milk processors. These can form part of the structure in which we can benchmark our plan off.

The first step for health planning is to evaluate where the farm is, looking at a number of key farm performance and health indicators.

This exercise allows the focus to turn in the short term to where the issues are. Then as the plan evolves we can continually refer back to the metrics set out. This also allows very clearly to see the financial impacts of improving herd health.

In the video above I outline some of the basic principles of what this might entail.

In seasonal systems, this can be very much based on routine visits at key times of the year.

With dairy herd planning it is about taking on challenges in bite-size chunks over time.

I have developed a very simple 3 step system for each visit.

  1. Three things that are working well. We must start on where things are working, recognize and celebrate some success
  2. Look at three areas that are causing issues or need improvement. These can be identified from the visit (looking and seeing) and the metrics we chose to measure.
  3. Finally, pick a maximum of 3 actions to carry out to help address some of these key challenges. Commit to these and set a review date (usually the next visit).

I have found this system works well when the actions are committed too and reviewed each visit. This important step is the building of momentum and belief in this systematic approach.

I have read vigorously about psychology and behavior change for the last five years. Why? Would a vet be interested in such subjects?

It is simple we all know what and why we need to do often. It is effecting change and the doing (action) that can be the most difficult part. It is taking action firstly and the right action that determines success. It becomes very much about our mindset.

When I design health programs the science must be always complemented with a good understanding of how we affect behavior change.

The routine visits must have clear objectives set out based on the time of the year. I create and take a systematic look at how we evaluate the farm based on the key priorities and tasks needed to be completed.

As plans develop we can begin creating SOPs for different areas of the farming business.

In the video above I give a brief overview of the ideas behind herd health planning in seasonal dairy systems.


Thought for the day

You will be surprised about the impact of small changes over a period of time. 1% doesn’t seem like much on a graph until you give it time.


Huge thanks to Nettex Progiene and Rumenco in their support for #50in50 for more information click here https://www.net-tex.co.uk/

Happy safe farming

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