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What is the “Good Health Records” Program?

It is a program with the following goal:

Accurate and consistent health records, easily summarized, use to evaluate and inform health management decisions on all dairies.


The “Good Health Records” program funded by the USDA is working to realize this goal by:

Better understanding the practices and perceptions of on-farm record keeping.

In the summer of 2010 dairy producers and veterinarians from Washington and Idaho were surveyed to better understand what health records they keep and how they used them.  This knowledge was used to develop standard recommendations for health data recording and a health record management outreach program (including this website!).

Learn more about the results of the surveys–Coming Soon!


Promoting standard protocols to achieve “Good Health Records”.

Accurate and consistent health records are achieved by following a Health Records Management Plan that is based on the 3 simple rules of good recording.

Learn more about how to achieve “Good Health Records”.

Developing software to efficiently summarize and evaluate “Good Health Records” and evaluate health management outcomes.

A dairy that has “Good Health Records” needs a tool to quickly and easily summarize and evaluate them to evaluate the effectiveness of health management on the diary.  None of the commonly used dairy management software has a function to evaluate the OUTCOMES of disease episodes.

Establishing the value of keeping “Good Health Records”: The Demonstration Herd Project

Dr. Sarah Giebel has been working with 43 dairies from Washington and Idaho to implement a standard Health Record Management Plan.  The objective is to show dairy producers first hand, the value of “Good Health Records” for making informed health management decisions.

Find out who is a part of the demonstration herd project.
Learn about the results of the project–Coming Soon!

“Good records” have long been recognized as a cornerstone of successful animal husbandry and are becoming increasingly important in the dairy industry as the size of herds has grown.  Through the Dairy Herd Improvement Association, the dairy industry set production data recording and evaluation standards.  These industry-wide standards have provided accurate and consistent production records that informed genetic selection and nutrition management decision resulting in today’s high producing cows.

However, industry-wide standards for health data recording and evaluation don’t exist.  Health records remain ‘user-defined’ and thus lack the accuracy and consistency needed to use them for making informed management decisions and evaluating the efficacy of dairy health management practices.  The premise of the “Good Health Records” program is that dairy farm owners, workers and their veterinarians have adequate knowledge of disease prevention and control practices.  However, they often don’t have the “Good Health Records” and records evaluation tools necessary to determine if those practices are effectively implemented.