Herd Performance Index (Herd Score)

Introduced in 1994, the Herd Performance Index (HPI) is a tool for producers to monitor their overall herd 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. 

Six Indicators

The six herd performance indicators that make up the HPI are milk value, udder health, age at 1st calving, calving interval, herd efficiency, and longevity. By analyzing data within these six key areas that are driving today’s dairy farms, and then comparing the information with other Canadian herds, Lactanet can then allocate points, calculate an HPI and annually rank a dairy herd.

How It Works

Each year, qualified Lactanet customers enrolled in milk recording receive an HPI alongside data on the six herd performance indicators. This information has proven to be a trusted management tool amongst dairy producers and is valuable for benchmarking.

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.


average of current
305 day lactations:
500 points


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 prices. The component prices used are an aggregate of the values used for all provinces in Canada at the end of the year. By doing so the results of the index 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.

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.



somatic cell count herd average:
150 points


100 points


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.



average herd in milk:
100 points


annual herd 3rd+ lactations:
100 points


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.



herd average:
50 points