Bio-security Policy for Holstein Canada Classifiers
Holstein Canada Is Continuing Our Strict Biosecurity Protocols Into 2022:
*The measures listed below are mandatory for our staff.
1) Upon arrival at farm, the Classifier or Assessor will:
2) Conclusion of the visit:
- Ask the producer if they require the classifier/assessor to wear a mask
- Have a clean pair of coveralls and disinfected rubber boot covers.
i. Properly disinfected rubber covers are acceptable if the farmer agrees (before and after disinfecting)
ii. Disposable booties are available to all team members if the producer requires extra measures
- Wash hands and apply hand sanitizer
- Latex Gloves are available should the producer request
- Start the visit outside of facilities and avoid entrance through milk-house if possible. If using rubber boot covers, they will fill their disinfectant bucket with hot water
- Avoid walking in the feed alley at all times unless required for proAction Animal Care Assessments
- We will email reports immediately following the visit; these reports are also available on your Web Account. Reports can also be received via text, ask your classifier how!
i. For producers that do not have access to email, reports will be delivered through the physical mail
- Classifiers/Assessors will clean and disinfect footwear
- Classifiers/Assessors will wash and sanitize hands
Learn More about the Program
Schedule of Classifiers
Classifiers are mostly assigned to areas according to their home regions, in a way to optimize efficiencies and help them to enjoy a better work-life balance. Still, we strive for promoting a rotation to ensure that the same classifier is not visiting the same area in succession.
Animals to be Classified
The herd owner should present all registered 1st lactation animals that were not previously classified. This allows for a very true and accurate benchmarking, helping to identify opportunities on both genetics and management aspects. Besides that, it helps to deliver a more accurate genetic evaluation, which is good for the whole industry. At the option of the herd owner, any unclassified animals in 2nd or later lactation may be presented for classification. Also, any previously classified animal may be presented for a possible raise in classification.
Organizing for a Classification Visit
Herd owners are sent, via mail or email, a list of active milking cows with their latest classification scores (if classified) three weeks prior to the classifier arrival, as long as the herd is enrolled on milk recording. This enables herd owners to quickly designate animals to be classified, and to consider other animals which might be presented. You can also find the list in you web account’s main page. The classifier arrives at the farm with the herd inventory in their tablet, so there is minimal paperwork for the herd owner.
If the herd is not on milk recording, we encourage you to submit your herd inventory from the on-farm software (click here for instructions and steps). That way, we are able to provide a more time-efficient visit, and guarantee accuracy on every animal’s information.
The classifier’s safety is important. Please remove your bulls from the milking cows’ pen to ensure safety of our classifiers. Even friendly bulls can ultimately be a safety hazard. Our team members have the legal right to refuse unsafe work, which could include a free-stall where a bull is present.
Preparing Animals for Classification
There is no need to over-prepare animals for classification. Classifiers are trained professionals who appraise cows at all stages of lactation and at all times of the day. Over-preparation in terms of too much milk in the udders is often counter-productive to the score and typically gives cause to request cows to be milked out prior to classification. Good practices in animal husbandry are strongly recommended and beneficial for classification as well.
The classifiers score the cows using tablets with a software developed in-house (ConneXXion). Launched in 2021, the software has the capability to perform both classifications and animal care assessments, which makes the visits that require an assessment smoother. The program also has a built-in tool which can easily order replacement tags for any cow in the herd. Just let the classifier know that if you have or not have ordered replacement tags that are missing so they can order in your behalf with one click, with no extra charge.
The tablets have internet connection, so once the visit is completed, the classifier can immediately load the visit’s data to the system, which trigger the creation of the visit reports. In very short time, the reports become available to be visualized on the tablet, on a computer, or on your phone. At the end of the visit, the classifier can update your email and phone number information, so the reports can be sent straight to your inbox, or to your phone via text message. This provides instant feedback to the customer with easy-to-read conformation reports, so make sure to go through the reports with our staff right at the end of the visit, enjoying the exchange of experiences with our field team.
The classifier also brings a measuring tape and laser guide to assist in the accuracy of some of the traits appraised.