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Energy Balance User Guide
Energy Balance
It is often said there are four diets on a dairy farm; the one that's formulated, one that is mixed, one that is fed and the other that is actually eaten by the cows. Some nutritionists will tell you there are five - the one the farmer tells you they're feeding! But the differences between what you think your cows are eating and what they actually are can be quite different. This service provides another piece to the jigsaw to monitor nutritional performance.
How is it calculated?
When we test the milk in the lab for butterfat, protein and lactose, we shine a mid-infrared beam through the milk. This is called MIR analysis and is very similar to the NIR analysis performed on silage samples. The MIR analysis generates 1,060 data points and when these are plotted out to form a wavelength, we look at the pattern of this wavelength, or fingerprint, and animal information to calculate the cow's energy status.
What are the benefits of monitoring Energy Balance?
The service offers a proactive rather than reactive approach to nutritional performance.
Traditionally, energy balance has been monitored using body condition scoring and/or blood analysis. But it is often too late to remedy any issues by the time you see the impacts of energy balance e.g. body condition loss after 30-40 days and PD negatives. By identifying groups of cows that are suffering from lack of energy before any detrimental effects occur, remedial actions can be taken to help minimise production losses, disease and poor fertility. Poor energy balance is a precursor for conditions such as ketosis, which in itself is a gateway condition to metritis, infertility, lameness and mastitis.
What does the service entail?
All NMR fully recorded herds can benefit from the service. We'll test every cow at every recording and if their fingerprint passes our quality criteria, then they'll get a result which you can see on Herd Companion. Plus we'll provide any historic results free of charge so you can start using the service as soon as you sign up.

To register for the service, visit the Energy Balance button on Herd Companion where you can sign up online.
‘How to’ Videos
See how to use the Energy Balance results by watching the following videos - click on the hyperlinks which will take you to our YouTube channel. These are also included in our User Guide that can be downloaded from the top right hand side of the page.
  1. Herd Snapshot - take a tour around the herd snapshot menu, which is designed to give a quick overview of your herd's Energy Balance.
  2. Herd Menu - take a deeper look at your herd's Energy Balance results by looking at the herd by location stage or number, breed and fertility status.
  3. Individual Cow Menu - here is where you'll find out how to search for individual cow results and pick out any outliners in your herd.