In the last graph we show the difference between the SPP in beginning of lactation (5 to 60 DIM) compared to the last part of the lactation (181 – 305 DIM). DIM is already filtered out by the SPP, therefore the difference is caused by something else related to environmental or management effects. So, we would like to see the smallest differences possible between lactation periods, ideally zero difference. A difference of 4 points in SPP value means farmer should review hazard points in the non-animal related aspects of herd management.
This graph shows huge differences per country. The UK but also the German farmers have a big gap between the SPP in the beginning of the lactation compared to the end of the lactation.
This means there are non-cow related factors that influence the SPP at start of the lactation and lower it. On average, these farmers should look in detail at how they are managing dry cows and transition cows to see what can be improved. The same should be done with 1st lactation animals before their 1st calving.
This could be feeding, several aspects of the transition, or regrouping protocols, among many other factors. Only by reviewing and analyzing the herd performance data more in depth will a farmer find what is causing this difference.
It is also clear that, in all countries, at the beginning of lactation the cows are not used to their maximum capacity of milk production and there is a serious hidden profit that could be recovered. Nevertheless, in the Netherlands the gap is minimum (maximum 1 point of difference). It is also a remarkable the trend in Belgium, where the gap has decreased over time.
The SPP (in the Netherlands called BSK) is a powerful tool to monitor the milk production performance in a very efficient way. Analyzing SPP, one can realize how successful the cattle handling, farm environment and protocols are for the cows. SPP is a perfect tool to highlight if there is something to be improved in the farm management. Farms with huge differences in the SPP (over 4 points) during the lactation have created a sub-optimum situation for the cows. Looking into that situation with experts can be very beneficial.