At Shiloh Dairy LLC it is extremely important to us to have an on-going Vet-Client-Patient Relationship, known as a VCPR.
Dr. Brian Maas and Dr. Fred Ballweg are our herd veterinarians, both of whom are partners at Valley Veterinary Services of Seymour WI. Every Tuesday either Dr. Maas or Dr. Ballweg spend a half a day, along with our two herdsmen, performing herd check. The largest component of herd check consists of pregnancy checking cows with ultrasound. The initial pregnancy check is at 39 days since breeding, a second pregnancy check is done at 60 days carrying calf, and a final confirmation is done at 151 days carrying calf. Each pen of cows is restrained in the headlocks a few minutes before the arrival of the team. They begin by walking through a pen to check those animals that are not in the headlocks, then proceeding to check those in the headlocks. This system allows them to observe the health and condition of every cow in every pen. We run a double ovsynch program in the cows, and we currently have a 43% conception rate, and a 25% pregnancy rate.
We use the DC305 computer program to maintain records on every animal on the farm. All animals are tagged with an RFID eartag, and this number is scanned into their cow card in the DC305 program. A list is generated automatically every herd health day, and we use a hand-held AXIM and a wand to scan the RFID tags to identify those cows that are to be checked. Each individual cow’s history is available for the herdsmen, which allows for better decision-making cowside. The results of the pregnancy checks are entered into the AXIM, then all of the results are downloaded into the main computer. This system has saved us countless hours over the previous paper-list system.
Every second Wednesday is heifer pregnancy check day. We have two pens of heifers to be checked, and we follow the same processes as with the cows. We use a tail-chalking system in our heifers, and heifer conception rate is 64%.
In addition to the hands-on inspection of the animals, our veterinarian team reviews and advises us on our treatment protocols and our vaccination schedules.