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Stackyard News Sep 07

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How’s My Herd - Dairy Stress Management Service Launched

A unique herd stress management service to help UK producers pinpoint and eliminate some of their biggest day-to-day performance suppressors was unveiled by independent dairy specialists, Kingshay this week (September 17).

How’s My Herd

The nationwide How’s My Herd service promises to put a consultant experienced in ‘reading’ cows on farm to assess cow behaviour, mobility, comfort, teat condition and cleanliness. The specialist will also examine key elements of the herd environment – including ventilation, light levels, walking surfaces and water supplies together with critical aspects of the milking, feeding and management regime to produce a concise report with practical recommendations for improvement.

Through clear traffic light indicators the Kingshay report will highlight those areas offering the greatest return from attention, allowing stress reduction improvements to be carefully prioritised.

“Stress is a hidden performance suppressor in even the best-managed herds,” explains Kingshay director, Duncan Forbes. “What’s more, we know that many high cost problems can be solved very effectively and often at very low cost by simple action to reduce it.

“Moving a few ridge tiles, for instance, can often make all the difference in improving ventilation. Equally, adjusting the neck rail by as little as two inches can dramatically increase cubicle occupancy. And adding or re-siting a drinking trough or two can give a tremendous production boost.

“The key, though, is to identify exactly where the greatest performance-limiting stresses lie in each herd and establish the best, least cost ways of overcoming them. That’s precisely what our new service does.

“The Kingshay members with whom we’ve developed How’s My Herd through practical trialling have found an experienced, fresh pair of eyes invaluable in spotting and eliminating hidden stress points on their own units,” points out Duncan Forbes. “They’ve also appreciated the way our service complements the work they do with their vet to improve heard health.

“This experience leaves us in no doubt that we will be able to help the vast majority of herd managers and their advisers make valuable improvements in both performance and profitability by better managing stress on their units.”

Details of the new service are available through a dedicated website at or by contacting the Kingshay technical team on 01458 851555.

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