Dairy Herd Management Programs
(right) Ezequiel Correia uses
the Allflex RS320 Series erd checks for small herds, while time con-
Stick Reader at the Correia suming, can still be done with relative ease.
Family Dairy For herds with several hundred or a thousand
cows, accurately identifying which cow should be checked
for pregnancy or needs a shot can be an all-day job.
Integrating RFID technology with herd management
programs is a relatively new tool in the dairy industry.
Not only is it more accurate, but takes less time to gather
information. Producers understand that the faster cows
can go and lay down, the happier they are and the more Steve Eicker realized that routine tasks like vet checks
milk they produce. were becoming more difficult to manage with paper and
pencil. Dairies needed new tools so these vets founded
Herd management evolves Valley Agricultural Software (VAS) in Tulare, California
In 1954, Dr. Bliss Crandall began DHI Computing and developed a herd management system called
Service from the basement of his home. He pioneered DairyCOMP 305 that was launched in 1983.
the country’s first computerized system to electronically VAS’s most recent introduction is the Pocket Cow
process dairy herd improvement records. For years, Dairy Card system. The system includes a handheld computer
Herd Improvement Associations (DHIA) would conduct with software to use with an Allflex HDX EID tag and
monthly herd tests, mail records to records processing handheld reader for herd checks and taking cow inventory
centers that would merge it with the herd information, and fully integrates with DairyCOMP 305.
and then mail reports back to the dairy. Now records could According to William Avila, VAS Dairy Management
be shared electronically to save time. Department Manager, the reason that VAS has been
Today, DHI-Provo is one of the largest dairy records successful is because they begin with understanding the
processing centers (DRPC) in the world and has dairy’s needs and then adapt the technology to fit.
developed DHI-Plus that allows producers to run “We tell our clients, if you have ‘cow sense,’ can read
individual cow reports, herd reports and compare their and can push a button with your finger, that’s all you need
herd with other herds in the county, state and region. to use this system effectively,” said Avila. “For larger dairies
Pocket DHI-Plus integrates RFID technology using that need more sophisticated management systems, these
Allflex EID tags with a handheld computer to automate tools pay for themselves in time savings and fewer errors.”
herd checks. During vet checks or inventory, the Allflex user Ezequiel Correia is a second generation
information for individual cows is captured and dairyman in Gustine, California. When he returned
then integrated with the producers’ DHI-Plus herd home after college to join the family operation, his dad
management system back in the office. asked him to take over the records management process.
According to Lad Muirbrook, DHI-Provo Account Although Correia Family Dairy had been using Dairy
Executive, as dairy producers’ needs have changed, DHI- Comp 305 for several years, keeping track of individual
these partners in cow records was difficult. He proposed implementing
adapting RFID Provo has created user-friendly herd management tools.
“RFID identification systems matched with herd VAS’s Pocket Cow Card system, demonstrating a two-
technology with herd
management programs is one of the best tools to come year payback, to his dad.
tions. Their systems along in several years,” says Muirbrook. “The challenge “It used to take five guys and a paper and pen to do
feature Allflex HDX is to find ways to maximize the technology to drive costs herd checks. Cows would be standing for several hours.
High Performance down and maximize the producer’s investment.” I saw this as a tool to save our time and get the cows out
EID Tags and where they could lay down in a fraction of the time,” said
Allflex Series Stick
“Cow smarts” make software easy Correia. “My dad is always willing to try new things … he
Readers. California-based veterinarians Connor Jameson and said, ‘let’s do it.’ It’s more than paid for itself.”
Holstein USA has written the “bible” of
tracking Holstein genetics. Their registry
tracks back to the first 13 cows imported to
Allflex USA Pioneers
this country in 1852.
Since the genetic pool came from a small Double-Sided Marking
set of original animals, understanding sire
and dam lines has become increasingly n the past when livestock producers Allflex Vice President of Operations.
important. That’s where the traditional requested custom tags with marking An R&D team led by Robert May, Laser
function of a breed registry and RFID on the back side of a visual tag, Technical Manager, sketched out the
technology have intersected. Allflex filled the order with a manual equipment needed to automate the process.
“Until the mid-90s, the only way to process that required running a batch of Featuring Allflex’s patented laser-ink
register your animal was identification with a tags twice through the marking machine. marking process, the new machine features
photo or sketch,” said Rick Cronce, Holstein For an accurate order, each batch had to fully-customized, fully-synchronized laser
Executive Director of Business Development. be matched up perfectly. Getting off by just and ink jet printers.
“Now visual ID and RFID can be used. About one tag could mean the whole batch had to “Necessity is the mother of invention,”
half of our records come in with a permanent be scrapped. Since Allflex often produces commented May, “and this new design
identification number.” large orders of tags requiring double-sided ensures accuracy and efficiency.”
Allflex has been a partner since the marking, precision and accuracy are critical. “The biggest challenge, ultimately,
program’s inception and is the proud
Now Allflex USA has automated that was software related. Our Information
supplier of visual and EID tags that can be
process where double-sided printing can be Technologies team became a critical part
purchased through Holstein USA. Learn more
done automatically reducing the production of the process and was successful in making
time and increasing the accuracy of the sure that all variables were accounted for
orders. and in sync for each tag created,” said May.
“Innovation and a “can-do” spirit is part This technology was pioneered in the
of who Allflex USA is. It was something USA. Allflex divisions in other countries
customers needed so we developed the will be looking at this capability for
tools to get it done,” said Stuart Hunt, operations in other parts of the world.
Allflex Double Matched Pair Sets
A combined collection is the reason they moved to Double Matched Pair sets. The
visual and electronic
Dairy producers like the solution visible from dairy milks 14,000 cows and have reduced the time it takes to do a
flexibility of tailoring their nearly any angle complete inventory from almost three hours to just over one hour.
tags to how they manage “With a large herd, our record keeping was getting out of
their herd. The Las Uvas Valley Dairy in Hatch, New Mexico has hand. Now, as we do inventory or other checks, we can gather
been using Allflex Double Matched Pair sets which include two Maxi information as fast as we walk,” Silva said. “We get information
visual tags with Large Male tags featuring reverse side marking and fast that’s more accurate and fewer mistakes and we’re covered
an HDX High Performance EID tag. Partnering the visual tag with an if a cow loses a tag.”
EID number is a big help during herd checks. Contact your distribution partner or Allflex representative for
According to herdsman Rene Silva, speed and accuracy of data information about Double Matched Pair sets.
ID Facilitates Bovine TB
Eradication in New Mexico Dr. Fly’s staff is
nce the most prevalent infectious this strong foundation and incorporate new
looking forward to
disease of cattle and swine in the technology to facilitate our efforts.”
The state is using ISO-approved, official
not having to sort
United States, bovine TB caused more
losses among U.S. farm animals in the early part USDA 840 HDX and FDX tags from Allflex
through reams of
of the twentieth century than all other infectious as a permanent external ID to supplement the information…
diseases combined. Since state and federal state’s brand laws and enable state vets to more
eradication programs began in 1917, bovine TB has quickly track infected animals. Dr. Fly’s staff is
nearly been eradicated from the nation's livestock looking forward to not having to sort through
population. reams of information that today reside in boxes
New Mexico recently found an infected dairy in a large conference room. An important next
herd in the state and Governor Bill Richardson put step is to inform veterinarians and livestock
a TB intervention team in place led by Dr. Dave producers of the identification requirements and
Fly, New Mexico State Veterinarian. In addition the available technology.
to strict brand laws, the New Mexico Livestock "We are beginning informational meetings to
Board is working with USDA, local veterinarians educate local vets as well as producers about the
and producers as well as other states to develop new tools being developed and the importance
an animal disease tracking system that will put of identifying animals at the herd of origin
an end to TB in New Mexico. According to Dr. with approved official identification – a
Fly, having good identification and tracking tools brand and an official 840 EID tag,” said
are critical to finally eradicating this destructive Fly. “Our tests with the tag found very good
disease. retention, readability and it’s a durable tag.”
“Our producers traditionally recognize and While a strong supporter of the brand system,
support the concept of movement control, animal Dr. Fly concedes that automating the process
identification and the brand system. This system using electronic ID will simplify the process for
has been in place since the 1500s in the state tracking disease. As more livestock comes to the
of New Mexico,” Fly said. "We plan to build on High Plains, it’s even more important.
Distributors Add Value
ith a working knowledge of they can take care of customers. been great in helping us help our customers,”
thousands of animal health and “We hold weekly meetings and work closely said Wright. “EID has enabled complex
sanitation products, a full line of with manufacturers to learn about the products reproduction programs that have dramatically
vaccines, animal identification products and we carry,” said Steven Gardner, VSI Beef and increased the herd’s pregnancy rates.”
replacement parts in stock, distributors are a key Dairy Sales Manager. “We were one of the first Bringing producers an effective solution
resource when producers have questions. to start selling ID as a management tool. Allflex really takes a team approach according to Gary
According to Jon Becerril, Alllfex National and our other manufacturers work with our sales Crandall, Territory Manager for Walco in
Sales Manager the service distributors provide is force in servicing producers’ needs.” Clovis, New Mexico. He services dairies in New
critical to Allflex’s success. As more dairy herds leverage electronic ID Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.
“Our distribution partners understand their for reproduction programs, Dr. Chad Wright, “The key to our business is personal
customers’ needs and how their operations DVM with Veterinarian’s Outlet in Bakersfield relationships. Our customers know when we’ll
work. We can walk along side them to develop California, a division of Walco International, be there and they count on us,” said Crandall.
identification solutions that meets their distributors can take service to the next level. “With EID, they trust us to bring the whole
customers’ needs,” said Becerril. “We are intimately involved with the solution. When we work with manufacturers as
Veterinary Service, Inc. (VSI), of Modesto, producer in managing his operation and are there a team, everyone wins, most importantly – the
CA takes the time to understand products so to help in his success. For us, Allflex’s support has producer.”
Allflex Staff Spotlight - Dairy Specialists
G rowing up in the beef industry, Sid
Howard and Brian Rainey never
imagined they’d be having so much
fun working with dairy producers. And while
they are responsible for helping all livestock
producers, the herd management needs of the
dairy industry allow electronic identification From southeast Kansas
technology to shine. to Montana and now
Sid Howard Nevada and Arizona,
Southwest Plains Brian Rainey has
Regional Manager experience with implementing electronic
ID systems in nearly every type of livestock
Based in Canyon, TX, operation. With a B.S. from Kansas State
50MR2 Sid Howard is at the University, he worked as a field coordinator
epicenter of the dairy for the Montana Beef Network while
expansion in the High completing a Master’s degree in Animal
Plains and the traditional Science at Montana State University.
stronghold of the US
Since joining Allflex in 2004, he’s helped
cattle feeding industry.
20VM implement innovative ID programs for
As Southwest Plains Regional Manager, he’s
livestock producers. His clientele include the
responsible for handling the identification
largest concentration of dairy producers and
needs of large dairies and large cattle feeders.
calf raisers in the world.
“Animal ID, especially EID, has become
“With the Montana Beef Network, I was
one of the most important tools for the
5EM-BT on the ground level with producers on a daily
livestock industry simply because of the detailed
basis facilitating animal management and
information that can be collected quickly and
traceability using electronic ID,” Brian says.
accurately,” says Sid. “It’s a tool that can be
“That experience has been great in helping
Allflex Precision used at all levels of this industry and from the
beginning of the production cycle to the end.”
calf yards and dairies implement systems that
Syringes According to Sid, his meeting with Allflex conform to the producers needs. As a herd
after graduation from New Mexico Junior management tool, EID is quickly becoming a
College in Hobbs, New Mexico was the first “must have.”
Allflex offers an extensive line of Brian works closely with all segments of
syringes backed with full-service and last time he’s interviewed for a job. He
started as the Feedyard Specialist and then the industry, especially traditional animal
support. Our syringes are designed health distribution partners in helping them
after two years became regional manager. After
for use by veterinarians and livestock leverage the new tools. In his role as EID
nearly 15 years with the company, he is quick
producers to administer most animal Product Marketing Manager, Brian also
to share his admiration and fondness for the
health medications. Contact your Allflex company and its people. works with Allflex’s other regional managers
distributor or Allflex regional manager “Every day when I’m in the field, I am totally specifically on special projects related to EID.
for more information. confident of the organization that’s backing “Sid and I work closely together with
me. I know we can help our distributors and many dairy producers who find incredible
ultimately the producer meet or exceed his value in using EID to manage their
needs when it comes to implementing an ID operations. This technology works really well
solution,” he says. “We have the people, the and it’s beautiful to see how much it helps
quality products and the service to back it up!” save time and money,” Brian adds.
When he’s not meeting with customers in In his spare time, Brian is an avid
Texas, SW Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, outdoorsman and loves to hunt and fish. He
Sid and his wife, Rozanna are busy keeping up and his new bride, Katrina, enjoy traveling
with 15 year-old Quay who is quickly becoming and recently returned from a European
an accomplished roper. honeymoon.
The World’s No. 1 Livestock Identification System www.allflexusa.com