Project

Suckling systems dairy cows

Project aims are to assess cost-efficiency of suckling systems in organic dairy calf rearing and to work out potential practical benefits (milk quality and animal health) in such a way farmers can easily adapt.

Approach and timeline

Suckling systems support species own behaviour of dairy calves and cows. Although suckling systems were shown to have a positive effect on the growth of calves, no significant effect on udder health of heifers raised in a suckling system have been shown yet. An explanation is the fact that suckling systems are not commonly practiced in modern dairy farming. Although practicing farmers have some experience with suckling systems in calf rearing, adjustments to the system have to be made regularly. Although farmers have shown a keen interest in suckling systems during the last decade, only a limited number of farmers have succeeded to establish a well functioning systems on their farm. This research focuses on clarifying some of the identified bottlenecks.

Results

  • 3 articles in farmers’ press
  • 1 research paper (Internal)
  • 1 farmers’day on suckling systems