Dairy cow mortality

The goal of the project, funded by The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture, is to investigate causes and risk factors of on-farm mortality of dairy cows. Results of the study will provide tools to improve the profitability of the entire dairy industry and to enhance health and welfare of dairy cows and sustainability of milk production.

One of the challenges in dairy industry is high on-farm mortality of cows. It causes significant economic losses to the producer, burdens the environment, and diminishes the welfare of animals and their owners. Cows are often lost prematurely due to unknown reasons. In addition to the lost milk production and carcass value, replacement costs in the herd increase.  Measures to improve profitability and animal welfare are vital for the industry. Reasons for on-farm mortality of dairy cows are not well known and lack of this information makes it difficult to effectively address the problem and manage risks.

The project on on-farm mortality of dairy cows ("Lykky"-project) is conducted in collaboration with the main dairy co-operative (Valio Ltd) and the largest animal by-product processor (Honkajoki Ltd.) in Finland. Prof. Päivi Rajala-Schultz in Dept. of Production Animal Medicine is the project leader and Dr. Heli Nordgren in Dept. of Veterinary Biosciences is the principal investigator.