Animal welfare is essential to promoting a more sustainable dairy industry, and DeLaval plays an important role in supporting its customers by integrating animal welfare into everything it does.
Animal welfare can be described as the animals’ mental and physical state of well-being. DeLaval is fully committed to following the globally established ‘five freedoms’ of animal welfare. These are: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; freedom to express normal and natural behaviour; and freedom from fear and distress.
“Animal welfare is an integral part of what we do,” says Fabian Bernal, Head of Sustainability at DeLaval. “It is important for our customers, dealers, employees and other stakeholders and is fundamental for creating sustainable food systems.”
A healthy animal provides more milk, at a better quality and for more years. This contributes to sustainable food systems by optimising the use of resources and the amount of milk produced – to drive farm profitability while promoting food safety through stringent compliance controls.
“Healthy and more productive cows help to reduce environmental impact as they have a lower greenhouse gas intensity per kilogram of milk produced. This is why we need to focus on animal welfare together with management practices, productivity, nutrition, genetics, health, and longevity – to create more efficient and sustainable dairy systems,” says Bernal. “Cattle also play an important role in maintaining ecological balance and soil health on farms and pastures around the world.”
The products and solutions DeLaval provides help customers to promote animal welfare in their herds.
“Our comprehensive dairy management solutions together with our expert support and advisory teams seek to optimise cow health and well-being,” explains Bernal. “This includes our products, equipment and services, but also the transfer of knowledge to both large and small farms around the world.”
The dairy industry provides affordable nutrient-dense and protein-rich foods for the over 80 per cent of the world’s population that regularly eat or drink dairy products – equivalent to over six billion people. It also provides the backbone of agriculture in many rural communities around the world by employing around 240 million people, including 80 million women.
“Promoting animal welfare and helping our global dairy industry to be as sustainable as possible is essential for food security and rural prosperity around the world,” says Bernal.
“I believe in the resilience of animals, farmers and farm systems, but that we need to raise awareness of the important role the dairy industry plays in the world and how we can work together on sustainability and animal welfare topics.”
Flow-Responsive Milking revolutionises how cows are milked by responding to the natural milk flow from the cow – to save time and promote animal health.
The first two new Flow-Responsive Milking technologies – Flow-Adjusted Vacuum and Flow-Adjusted Stimulation – were launched at a DeLaval milking symposium in October. The technologies use the actual milk flow to adjust milking parameters like vacuum and pulsation to create a more efficient milk flow profile.
By adapting the applied vacuum to the milk flow profile of each cow, milking times can be reduced by 10 per cent on average. Third-party studies have also shown that udder health and especially teat-end conditions are improved at almost all farms.
“These solutions utilise every cow’s full potential during milking by balancing their natural push with the pull of the milking machine to optimise milking,” says Martin Wiedemann, Cluster Solution Manager at DeLaval. “They are game-changing adjustable vacuum solutions for dairy farmers that no one else currently offer on the market.”
“Flow-Responsive Milking technologies are all about making better use of existing equipment to be more efficient, cut milking time, promote cow health and improve working conditions for parlour employees,” says Wiedemann. “We are now producing materials for our sales teams to help promote these technologies. But it’s not just about selling machinery – it’s about selling a philosophy to utilise the full potential of every cow.”
In the coming years, DeLaval plans to deliver Flow-Responsive Milking solutions with even greater functionality and machine learning capabilities to achieve even more efficient and faster milking.