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Changes in testing programs start July 1.

Dairy Pipeline: April 1996

by Bennet Cassell
Extension Dairy Scientist
Genetics and Management
Virginia Tech

A new system will replace the old type of test codes this summer. Under the new system, all records will be "official." Off-farm users of DHI records may specify certain practices for data collection, but all systems will be equally "official" in the eyes of DHI. The farmer will be able to choose how often the herd is tested. Some herds will find tests every other month or even four times a year to be acceptable. Other herds may opt to be tested every month with milk samples collected at each milking. The farmer can schedule test days with the technician in advance. No more "surprise" tests on vet check day! DHI will abandon much of its traditional regulatory role on July 1, replacing it with a commitment to collect and process data and milk samples under certain prescribed conditions monitored by the Quality Certification program. Emphasis will be on service rather than rules enforcement. This change will enable DHI to offer more flexible programs that meet the needs of individual producers and will be a big step towards insuring that those benefiting from a service are the ones who pay for that service. In the past, certain types of tests have subsidized the costs of other types of programs. The accuracy of DHI records has always depended on the honesty and integrity of the individual dairy farmer. Under the new system, that responsibility will fall on the producer's shoulders in an even more obvious way.

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