On a group of 95 heifers of the Fleckvieh / Red Holstein and Brown Swiss breeds, growth, fertility and first lactation culling decisions werde studied. Calf rearing, feeding and housing were according to current practice in Switzerland. The heifers were first bred relatively late, at 20,3 months average. When subdivided by calving age, the growth pattern shows that early inseminated animals are able to catch up on a weight difference during gestation and also during first lactation. Fertility results at first insemination were good, but those in first lactation were below average, but at both there is no evidence of any influence of rearing intensity. Culling decisions during first lactation mainly reflect selection made at that moment: the majority of culls is determined by insatisfactory performance.
Which stakeholders in the dairy sector have an influence on the productive life of dairy cows? Research results from FiBL and Agroscope suggest that broad-based cooperation is needed to create structures for a longer productive life.
Agriculture is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions. Agroscope showed that for dairy cattle housing, feed composition plays a role in these emissions as well as wind and temperature.
Lazzari G., Münger A., Eggerschwiler L., Borda-Molina D., Seifert J., Camarinha-Silva A., Schrade S., Zähner M., Zeyer K., Kreuzer M., Dohme-Meier F.
Tannin-containing feedstuffs like Acacia mearnsii and sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) have a measurable impact in reducing methane emissions from dairy cows. However, since these feedstuffs in some cases lead to productivity losses, careful consideration must be given to their use.