The annual milk yield per cow is not a suitable indicator for the efficiency of dairy production because it is strongly influenced by live weight, duration of lactation and production system. The feed conversion ratio (kg energy corrected milk kg dry matter – kg ECM kg-1 DM) or the surface productivity (kg ECM ha-1) are better suited to judge productivity. The milk yield per cow should be expressed per unit live weight (LW; kg ECM 100 kg-1 LW) because the maintenance requirement makes up around 40 % of the annual energy requirement. A dairy herd consisting of large and heavy cows requires relatively more feed surface than a herd of smaller cows. The comparison of large and small Swiss Brown and Simmental/Red Holstein cows in a three year project showed a 6 % higher productivity for the herd of small animals. For the future orientation of dairy breeding the finding that there is a clear interaction between genotype and production system is also important.
Stable climate has an important impact on the respiratory health of horses. In a study on indoor climate quality, three different ventilation systems were tested.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.