Simple solutions have dramatic effect on cow longevity

Published on: Sep 3, 2013

DeLaval hosted a Cow Longevity Conference Aug. 28-29 at its Hamra Farm near Stockholm, Sweden, with scientists, experts, farmers and DeLaval representatives discussing how cow longevity can be one way of supporting farmers in their efforts to be more sustainable and profitable.

"Simple solutions can have dramatic effect," said Jeffrey Rushen, an adjunct professor in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Sask., and at the University of Laval in Quebec.

He stressed the importance of finding efficient ways to transfer information about fairly simple solutions such as the use of soft, non-slipping floors and deep beddings to avoid injuries in cows.

The conference included discussions about cow longevity economics, hoof health, mastitis, fertility, stress and cow comfort in lying, standing and feeding areas. During the conference, dairy researchers and expert practitioners including Trevor de Vries, Christer Bergsten and Ken Nordlund, shared their "state-of-the-art" knowledge in cow comfort and discuss how farmers can best manage their herds in a healthy and sustainable way.

"The high turnover rate of cows in intensive milk production is receiving increased attention around the globe. Apart from welfare consequences, too short a productive lifetime has a negative impact on farm profitability and sustainability. We believe that all actors in the dairy industry are responsible for making sustainable milk production possible," Tim Nicolai, DeLaval International vice president of aftermarket and services, said. "One of the aims of the conference (was), therefore, to bring awareness and knowledge on how to improve the productive lifetime yield of cows."

All lectures from the two-day Cow Longevity Conference were recorded and are available on www.milkproduction.com.