At the initiative of the Sustainable Dairy Chain, researchers from Wageningen University & Research and Utrecht University have started research into the sustainable milking of cows. The goal of the "Tailor-Made Lactation" project is to extend the lactation length and thus limit the number of critical transition periods in the life of the cow. In addition to the experimental work, a network of livestock farmers will also be involved in this project.
Dairy farmers usually aim for a calving interval of 365 days, which means that the lactation has a length of more than 305 days and the cow has a calf every year. The calving process and the start of a new lactation is a risky period for the cow. The expectation of the 'Lactation Op Maat' researchers is that by deliberately extending the lactation by delaying the insemination moment, the milk yield of the cow will be more persistent. Because the cow has fewer calving moments, it is expected that extending the lactation will also have a positive effect on animal health.
Three insemination moments
For "Customized Lactation" 150 dairy cows are divided over three insemination moments at Dairy Campus in Leeuwarden. The cows are inseminated either early, normally or late after calving. The cows are then monitored throughout the entire lactation and also the start of the subsequent lactation. In addition to animal health, "Customized Lactation" also pays attention to fertility, persistence, lifespan, calves, individual cow management and the economic result.
"Customized Lactation" is a 4-year program and is part of the research program "One Health for Food (1H4F)" and the Public-Private Partnership "Sustainable Dairy Chain". "Customized Lactation" is financed by ZuivelNL and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. CRV will contribute to the practical translation of the research results. In addition, as a result of "Tailor-made Lactation", a network of livestock farmers will be organized, with which information will be intensively exchanged with regard to practical experiences and the first research results. Interested livestock farmers can register for this network.