Welfare of the modern dairy cow
continued from page 10
ment when the person conducting the assess-
ment is not physically on the farm regularly.
with water, with or without the use of a fan, was
as effective as spraying the back. Therefore,
heat stress may be combated during milkings
4) Pain relief during castration
with a spray bottle and some cold water.
Researchers in Italy found a relationship be-
frequently. This relationship must be explored
New research was presented evaluating the
tween heat stress and milk aroma. While milk
further and, if conﬁ rmed, could present an easy pain caused by castration and dehorning in
composition was unchanged, cow exposure to
management strategy to increase milk produc-
calves, and comparing analgesics for alleviating high temperatures inﬂ uenced the aroma (and
tion via increased milking frequency.
the pain. Scientists from Texas Tech University possibly the ﬂ avor) of milk. Future research
and New Zealand found calves experience
will further deﬁ ne this relationship, and deter-
3) Milking management and cow
pain during castration and dehorning, but it is
mine the effects of heat stress on milk stability.
temperament effectively alleviated by the administration of
It is generally thought that training heifers
local anesthetic (lidocaine) in combination with
6) New and emerging issues in
through the milking parlor decreases stress, and an anti-inﬂ ammatory drug. Researchers went a animal welfare
might even increase milk production after calv- step further, ﬁ nding both castration and dehorn-
• Production and health risks: One of the
ing. According to researchers in New Zealand, ing cause distress to the animal and suppress
most pressing questions of dairy scientists and
however, it has the opposite effect. They looked immune responses. Again, this was alleviated
producers is: Does high milk production in-
at the effects of training on milk production,
by the administration of anesthetic and analge- crease the occurrence/risk of health problems in
milk let-down and milking time in heifers,
sics to the calves.
the modern dairy cow? Kurt Vogel, UW-River
ﬁ nding training negatively impacted milk
A separate Iowa State University report eval- Falls, said the answer isn’t quite that simple.
production. The effect was the worst in ﬂ ighty
uated novel anesthetics to alleviate pain during Many factors that come into play, including ge-
heifers. A related – but not so surprising ﬁ nd-
dehorning. They compared 100% ethanol to 2% netic selection, management, nutrition and the
ing – showed the cow’s temperament will deter- lidocaine and found ethanol provided better and environment, and all must be considered when
mine how she responds to changes in milking
longer analgesia than lidocaine alone.
developing strategies for improving cow health.
environment/routine. As expected, docile cows
• Organic vs. conventional: A Wisconsin
were easier to transition. If lactating cows must
5) Dealing with and alleviating
organic co-op, CROPP, conducted a survey to
be moved to a new pen or milking routine,
compare animal welfare issues on organic vs.
research from the UW-Madison suggests there
Heat stress can be a major cause of reduced conventional farms and found that regardless of
is no negative effect on milk production when
cow comfort and milk production. University of management system, the best animal welfare is
the cows are kept in groups.
Queensland research found the negative effects associated with good management, attention to
Research from Italy showed digital images
of heat stress on milk yield of dairy cows are
detail and continuous improvement of on-farm
of cows can be obtained after milking and
cumulative (they add up throughout the day).
practices. used for a fully automated estimation of body
Therefore, it is important to develop manage-
• Latinos in agriculture: Latinos have
condition score (BCS), and these estimates
ment strategies that alleviate heat load starting
become a critical component of U.S. animal
were more accurate and consistent than those
ﬁ rst thing in the morning, and not just in the
agriculture, but they are virtually absent from
obtained by trained individuals. If adopted, this afternoons when the temperature is highest. An higher education classrooms. Colorado State
would save time on training and conducting
University researchers pointed out the need for
approach tested by a group from Mississippi
BCS. A web cam can also be used for assessing State University was to spray the udder with
additional education to ensure the sustainability
cow behavior and animal handling/manage-
water. They reported that spraying the udder
and future of farming in the United States. Ë
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