As most of our customers are dairy farmers, we started a Sustainable Dairy Farming Initiative in 2008, and improved animal welfare quickly emerged as an essential pillar. We support dairy farmers with smart technology and services to continuously increase resource efficiency and animal welfare. To put it another way, we support them to do more with less.
By enhancing welfare, the cow stays healthy and productive longer and for longer periods of her life. This strengthens not only the wellbeing of the cow herself but also farm profitability and environmental impact per kg of milk.
The controlled replacement of old but healthy cows who have ended lactation with young, healthy and productive first-time calvers is the motor of the dairy farmer’s daily business struggle. We recommend measuring each cow’s Lifetime Daily Yield (LDY) to monitor trends on a herd level. The measures that improve the LDY will result in higher farm profitability. The cost of feeding the animals, normally 50% or more of the running costs, makes it economically important to get as many productive days from each animal as possible over her lifetime.
Another reason is that modern dairy cows have been bred for high yield, which has been associated with an increased need for excellent management and control. Even if the barns have been adjusted for larger animals and provide better welfare, there is still more to be done.
Many of our products aim to reduce the causes of involuntary culling, by early identification of such diseases as mastitis, or conditions such as lameness – as well as assuring comfortable handling, especially during milking. Ideally, a herd of healthy productive cows is maintained, and culling happens for economic reasons, not involuntary culling.
Poor calf management, calf illness and compromised welfare during this period also have a negative impact on the cow’s later productivity. Improved ventilation, illumination and healthy housing – i.e. removing hurdles in the barn related to resting, walking, drinking, feeding, grooming and reduced competition – will result in improved health and longevity.
This will contribute to a decreased need for antibiotics, which of course is another strong societal benefit.
DeLaval swinging cow brush SCB stimulates the cows’ blood circulation and milk production while helping them to keep clean, healthy and calm. The unique brush starts to rotate when it comes in contact with the cow and rotates at an animal-friendly speed, swinging freely in all directions to provide comfort all around.
The energy-saving automatic on/off feature starts the brush rotating on demand and stops it within 10 seconds after use. As the use of the brush improves general herd health, it also reduces costs of treatment and involuntary culling. A smaller model, the DeLaval mini swinging brush MSB, was exclusively developed and designed for calves and goats.