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HealthyLife
Programme for Sustainable Dairy Farming

Reduce involuntary culling of dairy cows to increase the number of lactations

HealthyLife
Programme for Sustainable Dairy Farming

Reduce involuntary culling to increase the number of lactations per cow

Poor transition management results in early culling of dairy cows

Functional longevity of dairy cows is related to the ability of the cow to avoid culling due to reasons other than poor milk production15,16,17. Early culling is often related to metabolic diseases7,27,28. The negative economical impact of early culling can be as high as 800 to 1000 € per case32,33. Good transition cow management is key to avoid involuntary culling early in lactation.

Aim should be to reach at least 5 lactations per cow. To achieve this, the involuntary culling rate in heifers should be below 15%19,21 whereas the involuntary culling rate of the herd should be below 5%21.

Studies carried out by the ILVO in Belgium18 showed that if the culling rate of dairy cows is being reduced by 5% and average milk production per day goes up by 3 kg, methane emission per kg of milk produced goes down by 11.7%.

The HealthyLife programme can avoid metabolic stress and reduce metabolic diseases in dairy cows, resulting in an optimal number of lactations per cow

The role of veterinarian: translate all scientific information about dairy farming into practical advice

According to farmer Matthijs Meijer, the role of his veterinarian is to translate all scientific information about dairy farming into practical advice about calf rearing, housing, nutrition and feed management. Based on his advice, Mathijs can create the ideal conditions for his dairy cows to deliver an optimal performance.

Increase resilience of cows with the LifeStart calf feeding programme

The LifeStart programme brings together the latest science about calf rearing and translates this into practical advice.
With the LifeStart rearing programme the age at first calving can be reduced to 22 months. Next to reducing the age at first calving the LifeStart programme will also improve milk production during the first and second lactation and reduce the involuntary culling rate19.

6 management tips for dairy farmers to increase longevity of dairy cows

The average number of lactations in Dutch dairy herds is 3.5, but the best farmers in the country are already at 5 or in some cases even 6 lactations.

Joep Driessen from the CowSignals training group provides management advice to reduce involuntary culling rates and to increase longevity of dairy cows.

How to improve transition management of dairy cows

The transition to lactation can be optimised by improving gut health6 and by managing the 3 core physiological adaptations a dairy cow undergoes in the period around calving correctly. Understanding the relation between these 3 adaptations and translating this into practical advice is the core to a successful transition to lactation.

For background information please download our Technical brochure "Managing the transition to lactation" and learn more about optimising transition management of dairy cows

Register once and download all you need

You can access all of our documentation about the HealthyLife programme, sustainable dairy farming and the latest research insights about dairy cow transition management.

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The transition to lactation can be optimised by managing the 3 core physiological adaptations a dairy cow undergoes in the period around calving correctly. Understanding the relation between these 3 adaptations and translating this into practical advice is the core to a successful transition to lactation.

For background information please download our Technical brochure "Managing the transition to lactation" and learn more about optimising transition management of dairy cows

Visit our download center for more information;

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More about making sustainable dairy farming more profitable...