Impact of decision support tools available for dairy farm management

Wednesday, July 23, 2014: 11:00 AM
2102A (Kansas City Convention Center)
Victor Cabrera , Unversity of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Abstract Text:

A number of decision support tools are available for dairy farm management and are being used for practical decision-making. The objective of this analysis was to document the level of adoption of decision-support-tools availble at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dairy Management Website (http://DairyMGT.info; >35 tools) including the Repro Money, a Wisconsin extension program to improve reproductive performance. Since its inception in 2008, the DairyMGT.info, conceived as a mechanism to deliver science-based, user-friendly, and practical-application decision-support-tools, has accumulated a number of tools in nutrition, heifer rearing, reproduction, production, replacement, financial, and environment. The domain DairyMGT.info was registered with Google Analytics in December 2009 (http://www.google.com/analytics) to record the number of visitors and pageviews. Later, a system to track tool-specific usage by registering user emails was implemented in March 2011. Data indicate that the DairyMGT.info domain has consistently received >1,000 visits and >3,000 pageviews per month with a total of >55,500 vistis and >179,000 pageviews in the perriod December 2009 to January 2014. Around 55% of visitors were from the US and the rest from more than other 150 countries, counting as the most importants: Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, UK, and Italy. To January 2014, a list of 4,500 users were registered with the DairyMGT.info domain and there were >35,000 tool effective uses (a rate of >1,000 accessions a month or >30 a day). As the number of visitors, tools usage is consistently increasing. The top 5 most popular tools are: FeedVal 2012-feed price valuation, grouping strategies for feeding lactating dairy cattle, value of sexed semen programs, economic reproductive analysis, and the economic value of dairy cow. A special tool for improving dairy herd reproductive management, Repro Money consists on facilitating 4+ farm-team meetings with the goal of diagnosing, prioritizing needs, and taking effective actions to improve reproductive performance. Repro Money was launched in late 2010 and since then 45 farmers have enrolled. Data from farms that finished the program by January 2014 (n=30) indicate that reproductive performance (before vs. after) improved siginificantly at key reproductive indicators such as conception rate (+3%, P<0.01), service rate (+5%, P<0.01), interbreeding interval (-5 d, P<0.01), and overall 21-d pregnancy rate (+3%, P<0.01). This improved reproductive performance was estmated to increase economic gains in an average amount of $55/cow per yr (range $0 to $278) with an estimated overall impact of >$358,000/yr  on 11,340 cows.


Online tools, decision-making, reproductive economic performance