WelFarm: A vet's perspective

Find out more about this popular programme and what real-time impact it can have on-farm.

Many of our clients have already signed up to WelFarm, but recently we have been receiving more enquiries about the programme and what real-time impact it can have on-farm.

WelFarm is an NZ web-based assurance programme designed to help dairy farmers better understand key animal health markers and how they impact on the optimisation of on-farm production performance.

Our rural Large Animal Veterinarians work closely with farmers, using data to make real life decisions to improve animal health on-farm.

With every farm being different, having tangible data we can use to aid our decision making together is key. 

Farmers using WelFarm have that data in an easily accessible dashboard.

Many farms are now investing in cow technology to monitor the individual health patterns of their animals, making practices like heat detection and rumination monitoring simple. But what about what we can’t track with these devices?

Locomotion scoring, tail scoring and Body Condition Scoring (BCS) are all included in the WelFarm package, but it is important to know why.

How does BCS data help me?

Seasonally appropriate, we recommend utilising WelFarm BCS information alongside calving date information to create priority groups for early dry-off in autumn.

We can make this so easy by creating lists for you. All you need to do is draft them out and dry them off - or we can even do that for you too!

You can also use this information to create wintering groups. Light/early calving cows can be prioritised over winter to help ensure that they reach calving targets and reduce variation in BCS in spring.

We can create these groups for you using your specifications for mob size and simplify planning for winter grazing.

Is tail scoring necessary?

Knowing the incidence of damaged tails on your farm, and being able to proactively deal with it is important. We have several examples of farms that have found a high incidence of damaged tails that they were unaware of.

Identifying the problem with WelFarm tail scoring gives you the opportunity to identify a problem and remedy it. 

The annual monitoring of tails on WelFarm is very valuable to be able to track previous issues, and identify any new ones.

WelFarm data dashboard

Our vets and techs are nationally certified to score and report on these markers, which provides you with seasonal and consistent metrics on your herd.

Having annual data displayed on an easy-to-view dashboard enables you to track any issues before they become problems. 

This helps you to make decisions on nutrition, feeding and animal health, while also providing you with benchmark data for local and national farms for comparison.

Knowing where you sit relative to others helps to identify areas for improvement and see what is achievable.

Essentially, it’s about painting the big picture. WelFarm enables you to see all of the elements together and gain a deeper understanding of what is happening on-farm, showing what is going well and how we can improve.

WelFarm also meets the Animals criteria of the Co-operative Difference for Fonterra suppliers.

If this is something you would like your farm to be a part of, contact your KeyVet today. 

- Bianca Mackintosh


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