Farm Table says:
What is the paper reviewing?
Alternative dairy systems, which keep cow-calf together. A variety of systems are described and areas where research is needed highlighted.
Why should you read it?
The removal of calves from dams is common practice in the dairy industry, but animal welfare concerns have been raised over this practise. This study describes 4 cow-calf alternative systems:
- Free contact systems where cow and calf have unrestricted access to each other;
- Restricted suckling systems allowing short daily contact only to nurse;
- Half day contact where cow and calf are housed together during the day or night; and
- Foster cow systems where one cow nurses 2–4 calves usually without milking. Things like the influence of suckling on milk production long-term effects are discussed, as well as areas for future research and the pros and cons of such systems.