Strategies for keeping dairy cows and calves together – a cross-sectional survey study
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Karin Alvåsen - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences - Department of Clinical Sciences
Principal's reference number
Interest in keeping dairy calves with adult cows for a period of time after calving is increasing among consumers and dairy farmers. At present, however, it is largely unexplored how dairy farmers implement cow-calf housing on their farms. This survey therefore investigated how dairy farms with cow-calf contact managed their animals during the time that cows and calves are in contact. In addition, it evaluated which aspects of management were perceived as most challenging, and how farmers dealt with these challenges. Interviews were conducted on 104 dairy farms from six European countries. The farms kept cows and calves together for at least 7 days, and sold milk to dairies. The respondent could be either the owner or the farm manager. Cow-calf farming was practised on farms with a wide range of management systems, from small farms that kept their animals outdoors throughout the year and milked cows by hand or in mobile clamp milking machines to robotic farms. Calves could be kept with the dam or foster cow for part or all of the milking period. Daily contact time varied between farms, from 15... Show more..
Structured questionnaire-based interviews regarding the management and feeding of cows and calves were conducted on 104 European dairy farms where calves were kept with adult lactating cows for at least 7 days after calving. The study collected mainly quantitative data, which allowed the inclusion of a larger number of farms. As it is not possible to identify farms with cow-calf contact in central databases, the included farms represent a non-probability sample. However, this study is currently the largest survey conducted regarding the use of cow-calf contact on commercial dairy farms. The study was designed to collect baseline data in this new area of research, and the results are therefore presented descriptively. We used Netigate to gather the interview responses and analysed the data using the softwares R, Stata and Microsoft Excel. Paths need to be customized in order for it to function (is there reference to "MyRepository" on line 6).
The data file contains 114 rows and 189 columns. Show less..
Data contains personal data
Type of personal data
Pseudonymised information (names) of respondents
Code key exists
Unit of analysis
European dairy farmers with cow-calf contact
It is difficult to identify dairy farms with cow-calf farming from central registers. Therefore, to recruit farms, outreach activities were carried out through existing cooperation networks, personal contacts and advertising.
Time period(s) investigated
2018-12-10 – 2019-06-25
Department of Clinical Sciences
Roswitha Weissensteiner - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences... Show more..
Roswitha Weissensteiner - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
Claudia Schneider - Research Institute of Organic AgricultureShow less..
- Funding agency: transnational funding bodies, being partners of the H2020 ERA-net project, CORE Organic Cofund, and the cofund from the European Commission.
- Funding agency's reference number: CORE Organic cofund number 727495
- Project name on the application: ProYoungStock - Promoting young stock and cow health and welfare by natural feeding systems
Eriksson, H., Fall, N., Ivemeyer, S., Knierim, U., Simantke, C., Fuerst-Waltl, B., Winckler, C., Weissensteiner, R., Pomiès, D., Martin, B., Michaud, A., Priolo, A., Caccamo, M., Sakowski, T., Stachelek, M., Spengler Neff, A., Bieber, A., Schneider, C., Alvåsen, K. (2022). Strategies for keeping dairy cows and calves together – a cross-sectional survey study. Animal. 16(9), 100624.
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