Abstracts: Perspectives on pasture versus indoor feeding of dairy cows

The dairy industry in many regions of the world has moved towards a high- input/high-output system maximising annual milk production per cow, primarily through increasing concentrate-based total mixed rations fed indoors year round, as opposed to allowing cows to feed on pasture.

Pasture-based dairy systems in regions like New Zealand and Ireland are oriented towards maximum milk yield per unit of pasture, which has led to Holstein strains that are 50 to 100 kg lighter, exhibit a higher body condition score, and produce roughly half the annual amount of milk as compared to their Holstein counterparts kept in confinement in North America and Europe.

Freedom from hunger might not be guaranteed when high-yielding dairy cows are kept on pasture without any supplemental feed, but at the same time no access to pasture can be considered an animal welfare concern, because pasturing is generally beneficial to the animals’ health. Continue reading Abstracts: Perspectives on pasture versus indoor feeding of dairy cows

The effect of conspecific removal on behavioral and physiological responses of dairy cattle

Adverse social and welfare implications of mixing dairy cows or separating calves from their mothers have been documented previously. Here we investigated the behavioral and physiological responses of individuals remaining after conspecifics were removed. We conducted a series of 4 experiments incorporating a range of types of different dairy cattle groupings [experiment 1 (E1), 126 outdoor . . . → Read More: The effect of conspecific removal on behavioral and physiological responses of dairy cattle

Kiwi Post: Lean food production

I was presenting at a meeting the other day. And it seemed to go quite well. I was pontificating on the usual: something vaguely technical with sideswipes at all and sundry. At the end of it, after the questions and polite thanks, we headed off for the tea and biscuits, when a rather daunting lady made a beeline for me.

I could sense trouble, but she disarmed me straight away by telling me what a good presentation it had been and how persuasive my argument was. Then she said, casually, “all a load of bull, but persuasive nevertheless.” So I was intrigued, and mildly concerned. Would she have some esoteric technical argument to negate me? Had I upset MPI with mention of our biosecurity mismanagement? Continue reading Kiwi Post: Lean food production