Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2008
Publication Date: 7/11/2008
Citation: Cole, J.B., Null, D.J., Bacheller, L.R. 2008. A data exchange format and national database for producer-recorded health event data from on-farm management software. Journal of Dairy Science. 91(E-Suppl. 1):2–3(abstr. T6).
Technical Abstract: There is great interest in producing dairy cows that are healthy and remain in the herd longer. Direct and indirect costs associated with disease represent a significant expense to producers, and selection for improved health may reduce these costs significantly. Genetic response to selection for improved health based upon breeding values from genetic evaluations of field-recorded traits has been well-documented. That genetic variation is not now being directly utilized for genetic improvement, and several challenges must be overcome before useful tools to this end can be provided. The Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, in conjunction with industry partners and veterinary experts, has developed a data exchange format (Format 6) for the transfer of health and management data from on-farm record-keeping systems to a national database. A Format 6 record includes detailed cow identification, a health event code, an event date, and an optional detail field. This format can provide the necessary data for research into, and implementation of, genetic evaluations for economically-important health traits. Format 6 was designed to be easily extensible, as demonstrated by the addition of a locomotion score event to the specification in January, 2008. The database and editing systems were tested using 63,423 health events from 23,332 cows provided by Dairy Record Management Systems (Raleigh, NC). The most common disorders reported were mastitis (38%), metritis (16%), and other reproductive problems (15%). Primiparous cows accounted for 38% of records, and rates of occurrence differed by age for some disorders. For example, 61% of dystocia events were for first parity cows, while only 79% of the cows with milk fever were older cows. A total of 3920 individual events were flagged by the edits system, and the most common data errors were calving dates that did not match event dates for dystocia (26%) and calving dates with no matching test day data (72%). Format 6 records are stored in the national dairy database with cow test day data, and may provide valuable information for genetic improvement.