The large share of involuntary cullings associated with health and fertility problems has become a concern to the dairy industry. As much as 70-80% of all cullings are involuntary, and the main three reasons reported are lameness, mastitis and fertility problems. Not only is this an animal welfare problem, but it is also very costly for the dairy farmer, so these issues need to be addressed. Fortunately there is plenty of research and knowledge available to support the dairy farmers, and the solutions do not have to be radical changes and large investments. Even simple things that improve the cows’ comfort can have a dramatic positive effect.
Charlotte Hallén Sandgren, veterinarian and Dairy Development Director at DeLaval International and host of the Cow Longevity conference, explained at the opening why this is important to DeLaval: “It is DeLaval’s vision to make sustainable dairy farming possible. To be sustainable we need to make sure we include all four pillars: profitability, environmental responsibility, animal welfare and social responsibility. We will touch upon all of these components at this conference. The aim of this conference is to gather forces, to cooperate and collaborate on how, based on science, to improve the productive lifetime of the cows.”
Twelve speakers from nine countries shared their expertise on the dairy cow in her environment: