Herd Selection Guide

Knowing which cows in your herd are the most profitable is very important, especially during times of high input costs and low margins. The "Herd Selection Guide" is an individual cow report - customized by dairy operation - that allows producers to make decisions based on a cow's economic value in the herd. 

Combining individual cow DHIA data and producer supplied information, each cow receives an "Expected Relative Value". This value is the difference between her future economic value and the value of her potential replacement. 

A positive Expected Relative Value means a cow is worth more than replacing her with an average replacement animal in the herd. The higher the value, the more a cow is worth relative to an average replacement animal. If the value is negative, it implies that an average replacement animal in the herd could be worth more.  

It is important to note that if information about the cow changes or if variables related to production costs fluctuate, then the Expected Relative Value will change as well. For example an average third lactation cow 240 days in milk that is 180 days pregnant could be worth +$143 compared to an average replacement animal. Keeping all values the same but listing her as open reduces her value to -$339.

How are these values calculated?

What does the report look like?

How can I get this report for my herd?

Do you know which cows have the highest value in your herd?

How are these values calculated?

This report was developed by AgSource and Dr. Victor Cabrera, Assistant Professor of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Extension. The model used to calculate the individual cow economic values was developed by Dr. Cabrera (more information can be found at http://www.dairymgt.info/). The model requires an extensive set of data to calculate each cow's value, but AgSource makes the process simple. By using your DHI data, we only need to request data not recorded in our database.

On the herd level, the following inputs are used:

  • Expected Genetic Improvement*
  • Annual Herd Turnover Ratio
  • RHA Milk*
  • Fat %*
  • 21-Day Pregnancy Rate*
  • Pregnancy Loss After 35 Days Pregnant*
  • Reproduction Cost
  • Last Month After Calving to Breed a Cow
  • Do Not Breed Minimum Milk

*calculated based on DHI records

  • Average Cow Body Weight
  • Replacement Cost
  • Salvage Value
  • Calf Value
  • Milk Price
  • Feed Cost Lactating Cows
  • Feed Cost Dry Cows
  • Interest Rate 

Individual cow data considered in the calculation of the future economic net benefits are:

  • Lactation Number
  • Days in Milk
  • Days Pregnant
  • Expected performance for the current lactation (100% being average)
  • Expected performance for future lactations (100% being average) 

What does the report look like?

Block A provides a summary by quartile. Quartiles are based on the Expected Relative Values calculated for all the cows. Each quartile features averages for current lactation and lifetime values for ME Milk, SCC and TCI. In addition, the average NM$ value and last test day average Milk and SCC are provided for each quartile.(enlarge image).
Block B features the individual cow data. Cows are ranked based on the Expected Relative Value sorted from top to bottom. Supporting information for each animal consists of the lactation number, last calving date, days in milk, last breeding date, service sire, # of services, days open, repro status and days carried calf, current lactation ME milk, LS SCC and TCI, lifetime ME milk, LS SCC and TCI, NM$, genomic indicator, test day milk and LS SCC. Red highlights are used for cows open more than 150 days, LS SCC greater than 4, and bottom 25th percentile for NM$.
(enlarge image).

How can I get this report for my herd?

Click here for information sheet.
Click here for online order form
Click here for a printable order form

The Herd Selection Guide is fully customized to each individual herd, therefore it is not a standard test day DHI report. To receive the greatest value out of this report, you should report breedings, breeding sires, pregnancy status and officially ID your animals.  

The Profit Opportunity Analyzer and Herd Selection Guide are complementary reports and share many of the same input requirements. Order them together and save! If ordered at the same time, you pay $200 for both reports. Ordered separately, the Herd Selection Guide costs $75 and the POA is $150.

For more information, please contact AgSource at 608-845-1900, e-mail info@agsource.com, or click above to order online.