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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

What is Changing in DHI Records?

Dairy Pipeline: October 1995

by Bennet Cassell
Genetics and Management

Have you looked back over your DHI records lately to see what has changed in the past year? Periodic looks at the big picture can reveal what the details of day to day management obscure. Table 1 compares some management factors for the state of Virginia. A check of similar values for your herd might be interesting. Virginia herds are growing in size but are fewer in number. Both trends go back for many years. Rolling herd average is up considerably, due in part to better management of those larger, specialized dairy herds, but also a result of decent forages for much of the state during the past year. Daily milk yield is down for the month of August compared to a year ago, but many herds were tested on very hot August days compared to a year ago. Daily yields for July 1995 were a full pound above July 1994 figures. Somatic cell score is down a bit compared to a year ago, but late summer heat may wipe out any progress in this area. Reproductive performance is somewhat improved this year, but late summer heat may even things up as fall breedings start. August's heat will affect follicular development well into the cooler weather of October. Rolling herd average milk production is at an all time high. We used to think of 19,000 lbs of milk as West Coast production, but it's now part of our dairy industry as well. It takes a lot of careful management to keep cows going at 19,000 lbs, and more and more producers in this area are moving to that level of management and beyond. Top management skills and good records are more essential than ever to profitable dairy farming.

Table 1. Management factors for Virginia DHI herds.

YearNumber of
Number of
Daily milk
herd avg.
Yearly avg.
Days to

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