Dairy farming with reduced inductions
The New Zealand (NZ) dairy industry is reliant on seasonal pasture production and a concentrated calving interval to best match pasture supply and animal demand. To achieve this goal, some farmers induce lactation in late calving cows. This has animal welfare implications, which could result in non-tariff trade barriers to NZ dairy products (Blackett, Compton and Glassey, C. 2006, Stevens, J., Burton, L, Rendel, J. 2000). Additionally there are concerns with drug residues in the milk from herds where a large percentage of cows are induced. New standards were introduced in the 2010-11 season by the NZ Veterinarians Association (NZVA), Dairy NZ, Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) and Federated Farmers. In the 2011-12 season the level of inductions within an individual herd will not exceed 8% reducing to 4% in 2012-13. There will be requirements for information about the stage of pregnancy; the age of the cow (under eight years old) and body condition score (4.5 to 6.5). Although this reduction may seem onerous, the NZVA has stated that only 3% of the national herd was induced in the season just finished, with 98% of farms being under 15% (Benny 2011). A survey of Canterbury dairy farmers in 2008 found that 36% operate a nil induction policy (Pangborn, 2008). With reduced levels of inductions farmers will be forced to adopt an eight week mating system if they are to maintain the traditional calving patterns. If the number of late calving cows cannot be reduced to fewer than 4%, then a larger number of cows will be culled. If a pregnant cow is worth $2,000 and a non-pregnant cow $500 there could be significant capital losses. The purpose of this paper is to review the basics of getting cows in calf and strategies for reduced inductions, discuss the results of the nil induction policy of the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF), and look at the plan of one Canterbury farm to meet the new guidelines.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsLincoln University Dairy Farm; pasture supply; animal demand; reduced inductions; dairy farming; dairying; New Zealand; dairy industry; seasonal pasture production; calving interval; NZ dairy products; animal welfare
TypeConference Contribution - Published (Conference Paper)
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