Having data does not necessarily translate into value. The real value comes from transforming individual data points into insights through context and connections. By looking at all your information together, you can see the bigger picture, which can drive discussions for influential changes on your farm. If the information is misinterpreted, it can lead to incorrect decisions with a negative impact.
By standardizing your data and transforming it into key performance indicators (KPIs), you can analyze and interpret the information captured on your dairy. Combining multiple data sets can provide the context you need to make informed, value-based decisions.
See the big picture
When reviewing your data, these considerations help ensure your takeaways are accurate:
What outside factors have an impact?
Consider a wide range of aspects and factors that may inform changes in data patterns. For example, you switch breeders in May and in July, you notice conception rates are much lower. Without considering seasonality or heat stress, you may think the new company is not doing a good job. Looking at all the factors may reveal the lower conception rate was due to heat stress, not the new breeder.
What window of data are you looking at?
Evaluating too short of a timeframe can lead to data misinterpretation. When making protocol or management changes, give it enough time before digging in to recognize an actual difference in performance.
Consider changes in your dry-off protocol, such as switching dry period treatments or adding a teat sealant. At a minimum, you need to wait two months until those cows calve in to begin to assess the results. Furthermore, you must have enough animals and outcomes to draw a significant conclusion. Remember that your window may not only be based on time – consider all the factors contributing to your analysis, such as the population being assessed and the geographic region.
The tool for success
Any tool that brings data together into one place and is easy to access and share with your team leads to simpler, more efficient management.
VAS PULSE Platform provides a centralized dashboard approach by displaying all relevant data from your other on-farm applications in one location. The PULSE Platform makes it easy to share your data through file sharing and grant-access levels, ensuring everyone you choose sees the same data story.
You can access your data anytime, thanks to cloud accessibility. Stay on track with your KPIs by setting up alerts to get real-time notifications when they fall below personal and industry thresholds.
Be intentional with your data
Schedule a specific and reoccurring time to examine your data. Farms often find a good time is after herd check or milk testing since you have new data available.
Identify what you will review and keep it consistent. Looking at the same data gives you more context than reviewing a report once.
Set a timeline to make changes based on the data you see. Create a plan to make those protocol and management shifts and capture the data you need to evaluate the change. If you’re unsure if you have what you need, work with your herd management software support team.
Take the next step
Collecting data is only helpful if you take the time to interpret it and ensure your findings accurately represent the data. These outcomes can significantly impact your business, so take the proper steps to get the most out of your data.
Leverage your data management tools for efficient, profitable herd management – visit VAS.com or contact VAS customer support at 559-686-9496.
VAS is the global market leader in connected farm management systems. For 40 years, VAS has been the operating system of choice for the most innovative dairies around the world. VAS’ software and information solutions help collect and connect a farm's data – from herd management records, to feed and nutrition records. These insights are a source of truth, empowering producers and their trusted advisors to make profit-driven and sustainable management decisions. At the forefront of thought leadership within the dairy industry, VAS is trusted by the producers we serve and the greater dairy community.