Improving transition management creates opportunities to keep cows longer
Cows naturally can survive up to 20 years old, but they almost never get that old. The average productive lifespan is approximately 3 to 4 years in countries with high-producing dairy cows. Dairy farmers continue to cull cows primarily because they fail, for reasons related to poor health, failure to conceive or conformation problems prior to culling. These reasons may indicate reduced welfare leading up to culling. Improvements in health care, housing and nutrition will reduce forced culling related to these welfare reasons. This will create options to keep cows in the herd longer, we can decide how long a cow should stay.