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New publication on perceptions of calf-dam separation in Wisconsin

By Published On: June 20, 2024Categories: News

@INRAE / BOCHE Jennifer

A new article, ‘Dairy farmers’ preference for immediate versus late calf separation’ has been published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine. Farmers were sent a survey to primarily investigate their preference for calf-dam contact until weaning, based on 4 options: free dam (calf has unlimited access to the dam), half day (calf has access to the dam for 12h/day), foster cow (calf has unlimited access to a late lactation cow, 2-4 calves per cow) and restricted suckling systems (calf has access to their dam for 1-2 short times per day). Of these options, most farmers (34%) preferred the foster cow system compared to restricted suckling (24%), half day (11%), and free dam (8.6%) systems. However, 23% of farmers opted not to answer this question; the author suggests that this is due to the farmers’ preference for current practices or an alternative not provided. Another key finding is that system preference may be determined by the size of the operation. Prolonged contact was more common on smaller farms e.g. with pasture access or organically certified, compared to large, conventional farms. The implications of the research suggest that farmers are willing and able to modify their management systems to have cow dam contact in some capacity.

Boaitey, Albert. (2024). Dairy farmers’ preferences for immediate versus late calf separation. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 226(106175). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2024.106175

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