AgSource offers a wide range of service options for dairy, goat and sheep producers to record milk weights and conduct component (butterfat, protein and somatic cell counts) testing on their individual animals. Testing frequency can be as regular or irregular as the producer wants as AgSource members can set their own testing schedule.
DHI is the acronym for Dairy Herd Improvement. This refers to the basic testing service AgSource provides. DHI testing allows maximum flexibility in setting up a sampling schedule. Although monthly testing is most accurate, you have the option of testing however often you want during the year. You also can test whenever you want. For example, you can set-up a schedule with your Field Technician to test the third Tuesday of every month.
Supervised or Unsupervised (Owner Sampler) Testing
A member can choose either Supervised or Unsupervised (Owner Sampler) testing. Features of each include:
Supervised testing: A certified Field Technician comes to your dairy, records milk weights and takes a milk sample from each cow for component analysis. The Field Technician also records all change in status information (fresh, aborted, dried-off, died or sold) and reproductive information for each cow. If you use a computerized herd management program, like AgSourceDM.com or DairyComp 305, this information can be electronically transferred to the Field Technician's computer. Before transmitting to AgSource for processing, the data is checked for accuracy.
Unsupervised testing: A certified Field Technician will deliver needed testing equipment to your dairy. With this lower cost program, the member takes all their own samples and records the data themselves. The Field Technician will pick-up the samples and herd information and route this to the laboratory for analysis and processing.
Also called A/P testing, this service allows a member to test their herd only one milking a month. Using A/P conversion factors, milk weights and components are adjusted and provide comparable accuracy to measuring all milkings in a 24 hour period. Some producers using A/P testing may attain a higher level of accuracy by alternating the milking they test from month-to-month. Members also have the option of testing all milkings in a 24 hour period.
Labor Efficient Records (LER)
The LER option is available for dairies with electronic identification and milk meters electronically transmitting every milking's weight to a computer that stores the information. AgSource uploads this information monthly and produces reports. Once every three months a composite milk sample is collected. Butterfat and protein percents are interpolated between test days and an estimate is provided for each month. Somatic cell counts (SCC) cannot be estimated for the months a sample is not taken. SCC results are only displayed for the sampled months. The LER option is a lower cost option than monthly testing. However, drawbacks include not being able to make use of AgSource's Udder Health Management Package and an accuracy loss in butterfat and protein results due to estimations being used instead of actual results eight months of the year.
DHIR is an acronym for Dairy Herd Improvement Registry. This option is available to ensure breed associations receive completed 305 and 365-day records. A dairy must test at least ten times annually to maintain DHIR eligibility.
An AgSource member using DHI or DHIR testing may be eligible for Young Sire Credits. Depending on the A.I. organization, these credits may either be cash payments or discounts on future semen purchases based on providing USDA-ARS-AIPL early production data on young sires. Payments and credits increase for herds testing more frequently during the year.
365 Day Option
AgSource DHI and DHIR members can sign up for the 365 Day Option. This option provides them with production totals for every cow that reaches or exceeds a 365-day lactation. The record is generated on the bottom of the Production Report, appears on the Individual Cow Report and is sent to the appropriate breed association for DHIR herds.
For questions about DHI Testing or changing your type test, talk to your DHI Field Technician or AgSource Representative or call (800) 236-4995.