The Cattle Information Service (CIS) is one of the major providers of milk testing and laboratory services to the dairy industry in the UK and Ireland. At the heart of their information system is the Centre for Dairy Information (CDI) database. In conjunction with cattle ancestry and breeding data from Holstein UK (HUK), the CDI database provides a hugely valuable resource for dairy farmers and their advisers. On an industry level, the CDI aims to provide data analysis to drive the improvement of UK dairy production.
Linking CIS Milk Recording With Dairy Herd Software
To achieve these aims, the CDI database needs to be able to transfer data to and from many other information technology systems – from individual dairy software packages designed for on-farm data recording, to larger databases, like the UK Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Storing data from individual dairy farms builds a picture of the performance of the national herd.
As a farm service provider, the CIS needs to ensure that dairy farm data can be loaded into the CDI database quickly and efficiently. While there are some farms still working with paper-based systems, this is not desirable, either from the farmers point of view or the CIS milk recording technician, due the large amount of time needed to manually input dairy cow breeding records into the CDI database each month at the time of a milk test.
Data errors can creep in too, due to inaccuracies in data entry. Similarly, no farmer would want to sit down and manually enter milk test results (milk yields and milk quality data) into their dairy cow management software.
Fortunately, there are industry-standard dairy data transfer formats, which are implemented by the CIS and many of the companies that provide software for dairy farms. With a few mouse clicks in his cow management program, the farmer can generate a single data file that contains all his herd events from the past month. This can be sent to CIS by email, or handed to the milk recording technician on a memory stick. This takes care of updating the CDI database.
When the milk test results are available from the lab, the farmer simply logs into his account on the CIS website, downloads a file (known as the “datastream” file) and then loads it into his farm software. Once this is done, the farmer can use the power of the software to run a range of reports and data analyses to find the best and worst performing cows in his herd.
The Orchid FarmWizard package does all this and more in a user-friendly farm software package. It’s cloud-based too, so dairy farmers can easily share their dairy data with their trusted advisers. If you’d like to know more, just call Orchid on 01536 443300 for a friendly, no-obligation chat about your dairy herd recording needs.