One of my favorite features in Lely Horizon are the various cow indexes. These indexes can be accessed from your Horizon dashboard by selected Cow Index from the Reproductions Prediction widget. Horizon aims to simplify and organize the data that’s available to Lely Users to make it less overwhelming- the cow indexes are a great example of this. There are five different indexes: Index, Production, Health, Reproduction, and Robot Efficiency. Each index score represents how a specific cow ranks compared to her herd mates. A score of 100 represents the average cow on the farm. A score of over 105 indicates an overperforming cow, while a score of under 95 represents an unperforming cow. So, how are all these indexes calculated?
The general cow index is a calculation that weighs each of the various indexes, production, reproduction, health, and robot efficiency to come up with one overall index. In this algorithm, the production index is weighed about 8 times higher than the other indexes. Simply put, the production index is highly valued in the cow index. For a farm that’s just starting up their Lely robots, they won’t see a cow index generated until they have milked for about three months.
The production index is calculated by taking the cow’s historical performance to estimate potential, the expected start of future lactations, and expected future milk production. Right now, breed has no impact on production index, which could affect the production index score on cows in mixed breed herds. This is something Lely plans to develop in future software updates.
The health index is calculated by factoring in the number of registered curative treatments to a cow, her average sick score, and her somatic cell count data if the farm has an MQCC. If you’re using treatment plans in Horizon, you should review that they are correctly labeled as either preventive or curative. Preventive treatments (i.e., foot trimming) would not contribute to a cow’s health index, but a curative treatment (i.e., mastitis treatment) would.
The reproduction index is calculated by inseminations per pregnancy compared to the herd average of each lactation.
The robot efficiency index is calculated using a cow’s historical data for visit behavior and milk yield per box time.
Indexes won’t tell the whole story of a cow’s worth with regard to breeding and culling decisions, but they can be a great place to start to aid in a producer’s management decisions. Producers should understand how these indexes are calculated before using them to make herd management decisions. If you have questions, reach out to your local Lely Center Farm Management Support Specialist.