A sustainable herd is essential to ensure the future of any cattle or dairy farm, and an important component within that sustainability aspect is the working life of dairy cows. On average, today’s dairy cows are economically viable for approximately three lactations. We are convinced that the sector can take a major step forward in terms of sustainability and profitability if the working life of dairy cows can be extended.
A longer working life translates into:
We’re pleased to help you with every detail, because it’s about details!
What would be the benefit to you as a dairy farmer if your cows produced five lactations instead of three? The financial advantages can run to tens of thousands of euros a year! If you keep your cows for longer, you save on rearing costs and you can produce more milk within your current phosphate quota.
One key factor within dairy farming is a cow’s lifetime, in other words how many lactations the cow produces. To a large degree, this determines the profitability of the dairy farm. After all, a longer useful life means more milk per cow, less young stock that you have to keep, lower feed costs, and greater outflow of newborn calves.
To achieve a longer useful life of your cattle, it is important to have your heifers calve as early as possible. This means that young stock rearing has to be correct, and that you pay close attention to the details. If all these conditions are met, and heifers can calve at 23 to 24 months, then this provides major benefits for the dairy farmer.
A calving age of 23 months means cows produce the most lactations, partly contributing to a higher total lifetime production. Translated into financial benefits, calving at 23 months versus 27 months generates a total advantage of over six thousand euros in extra milk yield (Source: Schothorst 2011).
The rearing costs of a calf are readily expressed in rearing costs per litre of lifetime production. This shows us that in the first lactation, rearing costs are very high and that they decline rapidly thereafter.
Besides the fact that it costs a lot of time and attention to rear young stock, it is of course essential that the cow is well cared for during lactation and also during the dry period. Only then is it possible to ensure that the cow produces more lactations. And that means that common diseases, such as milk fever, ketosis, mastitis, claw problems, etc., are prevented or treated properly. But the details are key here too. And that’s precisely why multiple bio health programmes have been developed with Topro solutions to give greater substance to these details. All with one goal in mind: a longer lifetime production for the cow, and thus a higher yield for the dairy farm.