Dairy cows produce milk, which is why it has become a necessity to breed heifers as soon and as possible. After calving, parturition, or giving birth, a cow can no longer produce milk. At around two years old, heifers are bred for the purpose of giving birth. They then become dairy cows capable of producing milk.
After giving birth, dairy cows will see their milk production peak around 40-60 days later. Production will gradually decrease after that. After 305 days, the cow will stop milking. A dairy cow can calve once again one year after her first birth. High-production cows may need to calve again after a year. This is because it is more difficult to breed high-production cows.
Although dairy cows will continue being productive and producing more milk, there is still a high chance that they will have problems and will need to be culled. The following are the reasons why more than half of all cows have been culled:
Infertility: Dairy cattle are at their peak of fertility between 60 and 80 days after giving birth. If it is not with calf, it will become increasingly difficult to breed. As a result, infertility could occur. Infertility can occur if the pregnancies were difficult or if the cow developed milk fever or failed to cleanse. Metritis and infection of the uterus are two other possible causes. Both can be treated.
Mastitis: This is a mammary infection that can cause high somatic cell counts, and even loss of production. The infected area of the udder will become reddened and swelling. The milk may also contain whitish clots, pus, or both. A fever can lead to death in cows. Although there are ways to stop the spread, it is dependent on the cow’s immune system.
Lameness: Cows can have persistent foot infections or leg problems that could lead to infertility and production loss. Acidic conditions in cow’s rumen can cause foot and lameness (caused by high-digestible carbohydrate). You can avoid this with good feeding practices. Normal foot growth can be caused by laminitis, which can lead to increased horn production. If the cow’s horn production is not controlled regularly, it can lead to foot ulcers and infections. Lame cows are unable to stand or walk and can lead to decreased food intake.
Production: Some cows are unable to produce enough milk to cover their feed costs. It’s not good news if the cow produces less than 12 to 15 liters per day. The cow usually begins to lactrate at 20 liters. She will peak at 40 liters and then be dry before she can be calves.
Dairy farmers are now looking at embryo transfer because of the large number of cows being killed due to these reasons. Embryo transfers can increase the number of calves than the usual single.