Until now, the milk yield of dairy cows has steadily been increasing. Consequently, their nutritional requirements are also increasing. This requires a higher proportion of concentrates in their ration. It is a trend which leads to intensive production systems with high needs for energy and nitrogen. This may not be brought in line with an objective of sustainable development. Although most often bred in intensive systems, high producing dairy cows are well able to adapt to sustainable systems which are based on a substantial utilisation of forage. Because of their large rumen, dairy cows have a high intake capacity for forage. A marked ability to mobilise body reserves at the onset of lactation enables them to cover the part of their requirements not met by the ration. There are limits to this capacity to mobilise reserves which define the cow’s potential of milk production. Under best conditions in Switzerland, this potential for multiparous cows lies between 8’000 and 10’000 kg per lactation, with peak daily production between 40 and 50 kg. As high producing
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.