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Culling reasons and risk factors in Estonian dairy cows

Rilanto, Triin and Reimus, Kaari and Motus, Kerli and Orro, Toomas and Emanuelson, Ulf and Viltrop, Arvo and Motus, Kerli (2020). Culling reasons and risk factors in Estonian dairy cows. BMC Veterinary Research. 16 , 173 , 1-16
[Research article]

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Background: Culling is a major cost for dairy farms but also an essential part in managing herd productivity. This study aimed to identify the culling rates of Estonian dairy cows, identify the farmers' stated reasons and risk factors for culling. This observational study used registry data of all cows from herds with >= 20 cow-years in 2013-2015. Cow lactation-level analyses included data of 86,373 primiparous cows from 409 herds and 177,561 lactations of 109,295 multiparous cows from 410 herds. Weibull proportional hazard regression models were used to identify risk factors for culling due to slaughter or death.
Results: The overall culling rate of Estonian dairy cows was 26.24 (95% CI 26.02; 26.46) per 100 cow-years. The most common reasons farmers stated for culling were feet/claw disorders (26.4%), udder disorders (22.6%), metabolic and digestive disorders (18.1%) and fertility problems (12.5%). Animal-level risk factors for culling were Holstein breed, older parity, lower milk yield breeding value, older age at first calving, longer previous calving interval, having assisted calving, stillbirth and birth of twins/triplets. Lower milk yield, somatic cell count over 200,000 cells/ml and fat/protein ratio over 1.5 at first test-milking after calving were associated with greater culling hazard during the lactation. Cows from larger herds, herds with decreasing size and higher milk yields had a higher culling probability.
Conclusions: This study emphasises the need for improved management of hoof health and prevention of mastitis and metabolic diseases. It is essential to ensure easy calving and good health of cows around calving in order to lower the culling hazard.

Authors/Creators:Rilanto, Triin and Reimus, Kaari and Motus, Kerli and Orro, Toomas and Emanuelson, Ulf and Viltrop, Arvo and Motus, Kerli
Title:Culling reasons and risk factors in Estonian dairy cows
Series Name/Journal:BMC Veterinary Research
Year of publishing :2020
Article number:173
Number of Pages:16
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Keywords:Dairy cow, Estonia, Culling, Slaughter
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000538056700004
ID Code:17286
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:19 Aug 2020 12:14
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jan 2021 19:45

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