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SimHerd: An education tool

Teach students at all levels about herd dynamics and economic consequences of changes in management.

Distance Learning – SimHerd education on-line

SimHerd enhances the students understanding of the complexity and dynamics of a dairy herd. By using SimHerd as an educational tool your students will be provided with the knowledge and skills to use this state-of-the-art simulation model for estimating the economic impact of
disease, reproductive performance and management strategies under herd specific conditions.

SimHerd has many years of experience in teaching veterinarians, farm advisors and students at Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen. SimHerd is also used by a large majority of all the agricultural schools in Denmark, to educate new farmers.

“We used SimHerd in a practicum with dairy science graduate students. The students experienced how changes in herd management would affect herd outcomes such as profitability. SimHerd was easy to work with and the results led to valuable discussions. The exercises and introductory slides provided by SimHerd were very helpful and the SimHerd folks quickly provided answers to our questions. It was a great experience worth repeating.”


Albert De Vries, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dairy Science
Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida

Course content

A typical course would consist of a theoretical lecture followed by some excericses.

Lecture 1: The theory behind SimHerd
SimHerd is a stochastic, dynamic and mechanistic simulation model of a dairy herd including young stock. A theoretical understanding of the model is essential for a successful use of this powerful decision support tool. The lecture describes the nature of the model, and the complexity of a dairy herd.

Lecture 2: SimHerd in practice
Examples from practical applications in real-life advisory situations. E.g. Cost benefit analyses of intervention strategies (vaccination, labour allocation) and evaluation of investments in technology and animal welfare.

Demonstration: Using SimHerd
An introduction into the functionalties of the SimHerd program – how to create you own herd and run a scenario.

Excercises: Putting theory into practice
Students will use the model to explore the profitability of reducing various production disease (mastitis, milk fever, lameness etc.) and compare different
breeding strategies (sexed semen, beef semen, postponed insemination etc.). Explaining model behaviour results in a thorough understanding of the dairy herd’s complexity.