Merck Animal Health announced its newest resources for Dairy Care 365 — an initiative that helps empower a culture of care on dairies and calf ranches. The tools include five templates to help dairy producers customize standard operating procedures.
“Well-written SOPs simplify the job training process by providing best practices that ensure animals are receiving consistent, top-quality care,” says Dr. Lowell Midla, technical services manager for Merck Animal Health. “The most difficult part of helping dairies draft their SOPs is getting started. The format of these templates was developed with that obstacle in mind — to be a helpful and useful framework for writing SOPs for a specific herd.”The SOPs are available in English and Spanish, and posted with their respective training module on their website.
The Dairy Care 365 SOPs complement training modules and serve as the starting point to defining on-farm procedures. The new SOP templates cover the following topics: Calf Handling and Stockmanship; Dairy Animal Handling; Humane Euthanasia; Newborn Care and Handling; and Handling Non-Ambulatory Cows. The templates begin with guiding principles for each topic and are followed with sections to help dairies work with their veterinarians to develop best practices based on their own unique set-ups, experiences and goals.
Dr. Midla says it’s important for managers at the dairy to work with their veterinarian to build SOP protocols, as well as to annually review them.
SOPs Help Meet FARM Requirements
Merck Animal Health is collaborating with the National Milk Producers Federation’s Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Animal Care Program to help producers meet the National Dairy FARM Program requirements.
Currently, 98 percent of the domestic U.S. milk supply participates in FARM. “The goal of FARM is to create a culture of continuous improvement within the dairy industry,” says Emily Yeiser Stepp, director of FARM Animal Care. “These new SOPs will help dairy producers meet requirements and become certified under FARM Version 3.0 while supporting the dairy industry’s continuous effort to provide high-level animal care.