Author: Anna Lena Lindau (BRS)

Two farmers tested the BRD scoring by using the BRD scoring App. The first farmer has a herd of 35 Simmental suckler cows with their calves. The second one has a dairy farm with 85 dairy cows but also has a small herd of 20 Limousin cows. The app was tested for three weeks during calving season and the feedback of the farmers and some example pictures were collected after the testing period.

A demonstration of the scoring (commented in German) can be seen in the following two videos:

Both farmers agreed that the app is a useful tool for monitoring calf health. Especially when the calves are running in the herd, as is common with suckler cows, calves that are a bit sickly are often detected too late. You have no control over the feed intake and within the herd a single calf that is not so fit is easily overlooked. By scoring with the help of the app, each calf is consciously looked at and evaluated so that problems can be quickly identified. Both farmers found the possibility to calculate the disease prevalence directly in the app to have a realistic assessment of the situation on the farm to be a great advantage.

Getting close to the calf can be a problem in suckler herds. (Photo: BRS)

The most difficult part was the direct contact with the calves. Some of the cows were sceptical that someone was now going to the calves every day to assess them. However, after a few days they got used to the new routine. Another small point of criticism was that the app is only available in English. Both farmers admitted, however, that the app is nevertheless easy enough to use, even if their knowledge of English is not particularly good. The dairy farmer also indicated that the temperature should be given more importance in the scoring, as in his opinion this is the most reliable and often also the earliest indicator of a burgeoning disease.

The only cost incurred for the implementation of the innovation was the additional working time. This definitely has to be factored in. However, both farmers were sure that the costs would be quickly covered if the increased incidence of influenza in the calves could be prevented.

Both farmers would recommend scoring for signs of respiratory infections in calves. By using the app, this can be done very systematically and calf health can be analysed continuously.

Signs of nasal discharge (Photo: BRS)


Link to the RI: