Method for Optimizing Health and Productivity of Milk Producing Animals

TitleMethod for Optimizing Health and Productivity of Milk Producing Animals
OwnerWisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Most disease in dairy cows occurs during the transition period, which spans from about three weeks before calving to about one month after. Managing lactating dairy cows during this period is important because animals that perform well during transition exhibit better overall health and productivity during the remainder of the lactation. But the methods available for evaluating transition performance do not provide unbiased and objective measures of performance for individual animals, and the ability to monitor change and evaluate the success of innovations to improve fresh cow health on the farm level remains relatively crude.


UW-Madison researchers have developed a means of evaluating management programs for transition cows. Their method uses objective measures of each individual’s previous lactation performance and current state to accurately predict the individual’s expected milk production at her first milk test date. A transition monitor value, known as the “Transition Cow Index” or “TCI,” is then calculated as the difference between actual and predicted milk production. The transition monitor can be utilized to evaluate and optimize the health and productivity of individuals and herds, and to make comparisons of transition programs within and among herds.


  • Evaluating and optimizing health and productivity of dairy cattle
  • Comparing transition programs


  • Provides—for the first time— an objective measurement index that captures overall fresh cow health, rather than just milk production and quality
  • Particularly valuable for dairy herd management
  • Uses unbiased measures of performance
  • Enables standardized comparisons of individuals and herds
  • Allows producers to accurately evaluate the success of transition management changes


For More Information About the Inventors

Related Intellectual Property

Applicants:Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Access to additional documentation:Please inquire
Case Ref:29US
Application number:U.S. Patent No. 7,886,691
Inventors:Kenneth Nordlund, Thomas Bennett, Garrett Oetzel, Murray Clayton, Nigel Cook
Support from inventors:Please inquire
Industry:Veterinary Science
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