Dutch farmers are well-motivated, foreward-thinking - but above all - realistic farmers, whose goal is the efficient production of milk from well-functioning and healthy cows. And they are not hesitant to try out new ideas!
In 1984, a unique cattle improvement organization was formed, based upon registration, milk recording, type classification adn AI registration: the Royal Dutch Cattle Syndicate (NRS).
The NRS is an independent organization responsible for the collection and analysis of cattle improvement and farm management data and its subsequent certification. This organization champions the interests of its members in all facets of cattle improvement, both nationally as well as internationally.
Figure 1 gives an impression of the organizational structure of the NRS.
The basis of the NRS is formed by dairy farmers, 42,000 in number. These
farmers are usually members of an AI registration organization (99%) and/or
the local milk recording organization (65%). The information gathered by
the local and AI organizations is transferred to the regional cattle
improvement organisations, which are members of the NRS.
Figure 1. Impression of the organizational structure of the NRS
Sixteen active farmers make NRS policy decisions. They keep in close contact with the industry. They gather personal experience, on their own farms, and are cognizant of the strengths and weaknesses of the NRS-organization and its services.
The regional cattle improvement organizations, with a staff of some 275 persons, are responsible for the registration and collection of the milk recording data. 350 technicans carry out artificial insemination procedures. The NRS itself employs 120 people, sixteen of whom work in the field of classifiers.
| Holland dairy data 1993
|farms with milkcows||42,000|
|AI (first insem.)||1,830,000|
The main goal of the NRS is to serve its members by providing them with assistance in their cattle improvement work. The NRS works towards this goal by way of four key activities.
The identification requirement for all animals has been in effect in the Netherlands since 1992. Over 75% of the Dutch cattle-breeders also register their animals in the herdbook. This registration takes place by way of cooperation between the Health Authority and the NRS. Registration data comes in to the NRS; first the inseminations and then later the birth reports. This data is surveyed according to the herdbook registration regulations, after which the animals' pedigree is officially confirmed.
The milk production of 77% of all Dutch cows is controlled. This data is
collected according to regulations and international conditions (ICAR).
The figures are approved by the NRS. Supervision and investigation is organized by the regional organizations in cooperation with the NRS.
This large participation in milkrecording guarantees the reliability of production figures and breeding values of cows and bulls.
| Average production herdbook-cows 1993
|black and white||702,902||305||7363||4,46||3,45||328||254|
|red and white||267,292||305||6457||4,39||3,53||284||228|
Some 11,000 dairy farmers participate in the herd type-classification system. Sixteen classifiers score all first calvers in an 8-monthly visit system. Over 50% of all milk-recorded animals are scored in this way. In the Netherlands the recommendations for harmonization of type classification by the World Holstein Friesian Federation (WHFF), are adhered to.
Almost all Dutch cattle breeders are members of an artificial insemination
organization. The NRS is responsible for the processing of data on
inseminations carried out.
The above four key activities - registration, milk recording, type classification, and artificial insemination - assure the collection of all basic data processed by the NRS into official statistics and management information for the cattle breeders and member organizations.
Other NRS activities are the following:
The heart of the NRS information structure is formed by the central data base
in Arnhem. This computer contains a complete record of information concerning
every dairy cow in the Netherlands. A unique lifetime number is issued to each
animal and an individual herd number for each herd.
This integrated national data base, handling data input and output on information products for dairy farmers, the AI industry etc., is called the NRS Information System (NIS).
Figure 2. Relationships between the NRS Information System and other systems
The relationship of NIS with other systems is schematically illustrated in
Figure 2. These relationships are terminal connections and/or data transfer
connections. For example: the PC at a dairy farm can be connected with the NIS
for data file transfer (such as downloading of breeding values of all cows in
a herd, and uploading of automatically-registered daily milk yield of cows).
The local and regional offices maintain PC terminal connections with NIS. They have access to extensive data on the dairy cows belonging to farmers member of the local and regional office. They can thus make changes in data, or enter new statistics.
The AI industry and other organizations maintain terminal connections with NIS as well. Milk analysis laboratories provide NIS with data on fat and protein percentages in milk samples, as well as cell counts. NIS is directly on-line to the data base of the national identification and registration system (I&R). Together with the pedigree information and insemination records an automatic herdbook registration is made up.
The Netherlands is one of the first EC member countries to introduce the new animal health care regulations. The animal health organization, in cooperation with the cattle improvement organizations, was responsible for the establishment of a new identification and registration system. All data processing activities for this system are implemented by the NRS (computer) working together with the local and regional cattle breeding organizations.
Figure 3. Relationships I&R system
Since October of 1991, all newborn calves have to be identified by two eartags
within three days after birth; these tags serve as permanent identification.
The eartag contains a lifetime number, bar code, and an eartag number
A voice response system is utilised for the collection of these registrations. The farmer uses the keyboard on his telephone to type in the eartag number of the calf, the dam's number and the calf's sex. And not only births are registred; sales and purchase transactions are registered, too. Slaughterhouses and exporters read the numbers by the bar codes, and are responsible for the collection of the tags for recycling.
The new I&R system will quarantee maximum veterinary control and the continued availability of all other relevant registration information concerning each animal. The goal is to achieve a high quality system at relatively low costs.
The main goal of the NIS data base is efficient support of farm management by information products, and high-quality estimation of breeding values.
| Participants NRS activities
Developments for the future will give a strong support to the manufacture of tools for the AI industry, for its breeding programs and for the farmer's herd management.