Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 22, 2003
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The mission of the USDA Animal Improvements Program Laboratory (AIPL) is to foster genetic improvement in dairy cattle. Practical improvement in production and profitability is achieved through the distribution of genetic evaluations used by the dairy industry to guide breeding decisions. Since 1997, evaluations have been distributed via the internet through the AIPL website (http://aipl.arsusda.gov) and FTP site (ftp://aipl.arsusda.gov). Data used to calculate evaluations is received via the FTP site from dairy record processing centers (DRPC), breed associations, and other industry cooperators. Between quarterly evaluations, 11.2 million individual animal updates, and 150,000 pedigree updates come from DRPC and breed organizations, respectively. Over 80 interactive tools assist cooperators and AIPL staff with data quality control, and access is customized by user group. Genetic evaluations are also available to the public via the website through 22 interactive queries. More than 20 quarterly or yearly reports are also available. Complete documentation of evaluation procedures is stored in the AIPL website. The user-accessible directory includes 377 Mb of data and information in 12,000 files. A full function search engine assists with site navigation. File metadata also facilitates indexing by outside engines. In 1997, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that 20% of all farms with over $100,000 annual sales had internet access. In 2001 that figure was up to 58%. In the second half of 2002, over 170,000 requests for bull evaluations and 67,000 requests for cow evaluations were submitted to the AIPL website. Evaluation access quadruples during each week that evaluations are released. Links accessed within the AIPL website account for 74% of all requests. Outside requests are from links on other sites 12% of the time, others being bookmarks or user entry. About 25% of all requests are from the top 1% of requesters. Recent website enhancements include Spanish language availability and improved indexing. Planned improvements include more-dynamic database query tools, and user account control for industry cooperators.