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CIS LONGEVITY
IMPROVING LONGEVITY WITH RECORD KEEPING
CIS’ Jim Westaway looks at the importance of measuring
and analyzing the ways cows perform in the herd,
stressing the need for them to be profi table
if they are occupying space.
Why is Longevity important? Knowledge really is power.
Recently there has been a plethora of negative press surrounding For example if only I had pregnancy checked my
the Holstein cow. TV programmes have warped public perception Devon heifer last autumn rather than wait for it not
on welfare issues in our dairy industry and made people question to calve this spring then I could have saved feeding
the longevity of our Black and White breed. We must counteract
costs and had beef on the home menu sooner!
this bad press.
Milk recording used to be just that, milk recording
From an economic point of view, as a farmer, longevity gives a
with butterfat when I was a lad. Things have
better return on rearing costs and greater longevity means more
progressed though and CIS now offer a massive
surplus stock sales are achievable.
array of services to inform and help the Farmer/
Dairyman/Vet/Consultant to generate an overall
Is there any occasion when longevity is a bad
herd picture as well as fl agging individual cow
thing?
problems.
The earning potential between the best and worst animal in the
The most common reasons for cows dying or
herd is often very large. Keeping a low earning animal to a very old
leaving the herd prematurely include; infertility and
age will not necessarily make economic sense.
reproductive issues, poor udder health or udder
It’s not just about lactation numbers but kilos per cow per day of
conformation, feet and legs or locomotion issues,
life.
injuries and disease. I believe to a lesser degree,
management traits (temperament, milking speed,
Do life threatening incidences in your herd affect
poor production or poor milk component values)
longevity? also cause losses.
Poor animal welfare will be associated with a shorter less profi table
animal life.
Calving and drying off are probably the most critical time, rather
like a plane, it’s the taking off and landing that is the dangerous
time. When either the cow or the plane is cruising there is less risk.
To improve the longevity (average number of lactations per animal
in herd) it will be vital to look at historic reasons for animals
leaving the herd, once losses have been assessed then action can be
taken.
48 THE JOURNAL DECEMBER 2009
e06-09 CIS improving longevity.indd 2 09/11/2009 18:11:45
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