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Dairy Diagnostics Tool Box

The mission of the Minnesota Dairy Initiatives program is to energize a healthy and vibrant dairy industry in Minnesota. Systematic evaluation of dairies to accurately identify opportunities for herd improvement is key to dairy diagnostic team success. The Minnesota Dairy Diagnostics Tool Box is intended to support dairy diagnostic team professionals in completing an accurate and comprehensive analysis of a dairy farm business. The process begins with the "General Assessment Form", which will provide a general overall description of the dairy. Reference is given to specific and more detailed worksheets, factsheets and Web sites within the "General Assessment Form", which are intended to aid in delving deeper into herd problem areas.


1: General Assessment

1A: On-site Evaluation Worksheet

2: Financial Data Income Sheet

3: Financial Data Blanace Sheet

4: Goal Form - Estimate of Economic Losses
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin

5: Developing a Mission Statement

6: SMART (short-term) Goals

7: DRIVE (long-term) Goals

8: Estimating Access to Feed and Water

9: Calculating Cud Chewing Index & Cow Comfort Quotient

10: Feed Intake Data & Daily Feeding Log

10A: Body Condition Scoring Worksheet

11: Cow Health Disorders & Dry Cow Evaluation

12: Problem Cow Diagnostics

See: Johne's Disease Dairy Risk Assessment Form
(MN Board of Animal Health)

13: Cow Cleanliness Scorecard
Also see: Relationship of Cow Hygiene Scores and SCC

14: Hock Injury Scorecard

15: Lameness Scoring Worksheet

16: Feeding and Milk Quality Variation

Supplemental Management Tools

Annual Losses Due to Mastitis Above a Desirable Baseline Level
Excel spreadsheet developed by John Fetrow, VMD, MBA

Costs of Common Diseases
Excel spreadsheet developed by Chuck Guard, DVM

Cost of Raising Replacement Dairy Heifers
Penn State Excel spreadsheet

Flowchart for Evaluating Freestalls
Developed by Drs. Ken Nordlund and Nigel Cook, School of Vet Med, University of Wisconsin-Madison - 2001

Milk Yield Projection
Excel Spreadsheet

Photoperiod Management of Dairy Cattle
Illinois TRAILL management tool that increases efficiency of the lactating cow


1: Feed Storage Tables

2: Bunker Silo Management

3: TMR Feeding Management

4: Ration Guidelines for Milking & Dry Cows

5: Milk Cow Nutrition Monitors on Dairy Farms

6: Reducing Mastitis

Supplemental Factsheets

Interpretation and Use of Laboratory Culture Results and the Characteristics of Various Mastitis Pathogens

Mastitis and Milk Quality Problem Identification with Cause and Effect Diagrams

Seven Steps to Reducing Mastitis and Improving Milk Quality

Attitude is Key to Process Improvement


Availa4 (ZinPro) - An excellent resource for dairy diagnostics teams. This Web site contains a lameness factsheet, scorecard, economics calculator and video clip.

Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota (access to FinBin benchmarking)

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (look up current milk price and future contracting)

Dairy Alliance (Penn State) - The mission of Dairy Alliance is to enhance the economic development of the Pennsylvania dairy industry through focused educational efforts.

Midwest Plan Service - Objective University-based publications for agriculture

Penn State Forage Particle Separator

Understanding Dairy Markets - University of Wisconsin Dairy Marketing and Risk Management Program (a source for market information and price risk management principles)

In This Section


Supplemental Management Tools


Supplemental Factsheets


Extension & Outreach

University of Minnesota Extension

Animal Science Extension

Youth Programs

Animal Facility Tours

MN Nutrition Conference

W.E. Petersen Symposium