Herd Management Score & Benchmarks

The Herd Management Score was introduced in 1994 as a tool for producers to monitor their overall management performance, track progress over time, and identify opportunities for improvement. Since then it has evolved based on producer feedback and is now a National program.

Benchmarks

Lactanet publically publishes annual herd management benchmarks that are categorized by key herd management areas, and used to award points and rank herds.

The 6 Herd Performance Scoring & Benchmark Indicators

The herd performance scoring system divides a total of 1,000 points across six management areas. Herds are awarded points and they are allocated as follows:

Milk Value is the average dollar value of milk components for actual production of all of the cows in the herd using current milk and component production in the herd, and current milk prices. The data is an aggregate of the values used for all provinces in Canada at the end of the year and the results can be compared across provinces. Where a herd has both Holstein and colored breeds, a weighted score is determined. Milk Value per cow is a measure of gross revenue from the dairy herd. A high Milk Value is a key driver of efficiency and ultimately, profitability.

Beginning in 2020, the Udder Health calculation has had a minor change from Average Linear Score (LS) to Somatic Cell Count (SCC). Although the two measures are closely related (as LS is derived from SCC), this change came from requests from producers as SCC is easily understood and is used for milk payment (bonus or penalty) and related to producer revenue and profitability. Comparable modelling reflected that there was little impact on allocated points and herd rankings between SCC and LS.

The 12-month average for the herds SCC is used and is an indicator of milk quality and udder health. This measurement also involves the potential prevalence of clinical and sub−clinical mastitis, which leads to decreased milk production and decreased revenue.

Age at First Calving is the average age (expressed in months) of all animals with valid birth and calving dates that started their first lactation in the herd during the target year. It is a measure of heifer management, growth and reproduction in the herd. Research clearly shows that having a lower age at first calving will lower your heifer rearing costs and allow your heifers to start making money sooner.

Herd Efficiency is measured with the average annual percentage of cows in the herd on test day that are milking (not dry). It indicates the balance between the maximum Days in Milk and an adequate Dry Period and Calving Interval. Herd efficiency is about finding the right balance for your herd. A balanced lactation can increase daily milk output from the herd and a value in mid-range (40th to 80th percentile) will score higher than extreme high or low values.

Longevity is calculated through the annual average percentage of cows in the herd on test day that are in their third or greater lactation. It is a measure of good management in regards to cow comfort, herd health, productive life, and a ‘problem free’ herd. Increased longevity allows for higher production, decreased animal replacement costs, and excess animals to sell as replacements.

Calving Interval is the average interval between calvings for animals in their second or greater lactation during the target year. It is a measure of reproductive management, heat detection, and herd fertility. An optimum calving interval will yield higher production that translates to increased revenue and overall performance. The top 20% of herds will be attributed the maximum points.

The data is further broken down by Free Stall, Robotic Milking, Tie Stall and Organic herds. 

About the Scoring System

Points are determined for each management criteria based on the herd’s performance compared to all other herds in Canada. Herds are ranked from top to bottom for each set of criteria with the top herds getting top points. The 99th percentile will receive 100% of the available points; the 98th percentile will receive 99% of the available points, right down to the 1st percentile, which will receive 2% of the available points.

Daily Production Averages

For Ontario and Western Provinces

To see current average daily production and SCC data (including the previous 4 years), click on the province of interest below. Please note that each page contains five tabs at the bottom left which will allow you to navigate between milk, fat, protein graphs, SCC graph, DIM graph, and the actual data behind the graphs.

Progress Reports

Our renown annual Progress Reports also features profiles of top scoring dairies.

Your Herds Report Card​

Each year, qualified Lactanet customers enrolled in routine milk recording, receive reports that summarize the performance of their herd. Dairy producers are inspired by the valuable report information, their herd management score, and the performance benchmarks.

This annual report card not only reflects how their herd is doing, but how they compare to others. The information is used to monitor progress, identify trends, celebrate accomplishments, share with advisors, look for improvements, promote excellence in herd management, set goals and participate in awards.

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Media

2021/06/03 – Tools and Resources for Better Herd Management

Business & Economics

Annual Reports

Robotic Milking

Benchmarks 2020 by Milking Systems