Dairy Cull Cow Management

Dairy farmers care for their animals throughout their entire lives, and that care must continue when cows leave the farm. Cull cow transport can be a difficult conversation, but as cull cows represent a vulnerable population of animals, it is essential to consider their welfare through to their final destination. The transportation of cull cattle is an important step in the food chain and producers must take the appropriate steps before shipping, including the identification of compromised and unfit animals to ensure the animal travels safely. In order to promote and maintain an excellent reputation for the industry, compromised animals must be sent to the correct location and unfit animals should not be transported. An important consideration when assessing cull cows for transport is a realistic picture of the journey through the marketing system and an understanding of how a cows’ condition may deteriorate. Research has been conducted to evaluate producer’s perceptions and decisions around culling as well as to determine impacts on cow health and welfare during transport.

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This month’s first research summary is from the 2015 Canadian National Dairy Study on farmers decisions and perceptions around cull cow transport. The second research summary is on a project that followed cull cows from BC dairy farms to their destination, to provide insight into the cull cow’s journey.

6.22 UBC Cull Cow Transport (DEC 2020)

The majority of cull cows spent more than 3 days in the marketing system.

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6.21 NDS Cull Cow Management (DEC 2020)

The 2015 National Dairy Study survey evaluated farmers decisions and perceptions around culling.

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