; Indicators of animal welfare, cow comfort, and its economic impact. | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Indicators of animal welfare, cow comfort, and its economic impact.

Alvaro Garcia


Dairy cow comfort is among the main factors that impact animal health, productivity, longevity and profitability of dairy farms. A cow’s productive life has been defined as the number of lactations that it completes before being culled. Oftentimes the main concern of the producer is the daily production per cow or even the production for a given lactation. It is of much more importance to arrive to a compromise between farm profitability and animal welfare where longevity and production per lifetime plays the major role. One must use parameters that measure the interrelationship of the animal with its environment and that are related with an increased stayability in the farm. In a cow that survives a prolonged period of time, fixed and variable costs are diluted which has direct bearing on profitability. These measurements can be based on physiological parameters (biochemical or physical indicators), pathological (lesions, mortality, etc.), environmental (space, terrain, protection from the environment), animal performance (growth, production, and reproduction) and behavior (or how well the animal copes with its environment). All these measurement require are just an inquisitive queen sense of observation and record keeping ability. This presentation analyzes useful practical indicators, that allow an individual to determine the presence of management flaws that negatively impact the interrelationship of the animal with its environment. The economic repercusions that result from not considering the basic bodily and psychogenic needs of the animal as they relate to the genetic characteristics of the breed and its behavior are also being addressed.