Dairy Diagnostics Toolbox

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
Also 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

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

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

3: Cost of Raising Replacement Dairy Heifers
Penn State Excel spreadsheet

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

5: Milk Yield Projection
Excel Spreadsheet


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

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

2: Mastitis and Milk Quality Problem Identification with Cause and Effect Diagrams

3: Seven Steps to Reducing Mastitis and Improving Milk Quality

4: 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)

Midwest Plan Service (Iowa State University) - Objective University-based publications for agriculture

Penn State Dairy Team (formerly Dairy Alliance) - The dairy industry's source for educational programming based on unbiased Penn State Dairy research.

Penn State Forage Particle Separator - Designed to help determine the correct forage particle length needed to improve ruminant nutrition.

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