Improve Dairy Farm Profitability with Sustainable Practices

Health problems in dairy cows result in an estimated loss of production of up to 30%. Sustainable dairy farm practices should therefore increase the number of healthy dairy cows on a farm.

Most of the health problems on a dairy farm are directly or indirectly related to poor transition to lactation. Poor transition management of dairy cows increases the incidence of metritis, mastitis and lameness. These problems are responsible for a large proportion of the use of antibiotics on dairy farms. Thus, reducing transition problems in dairy cows improves the efficiency of production, leading to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per kg of milk produced. Sustainable dairy farming practices that improve the transition to lactation also result in a significant reduction of antimicrobial use.


How to make sustainable dairy farming profitable?

A holistic approach to sustainable dairy farming will help to maintain profitability:

  • Significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions per litre of milk produced can be achieved by using feed additives that reduce the carbon footprint of dairy farming. Additional opportunities to make dairy farming more sustainable are programmes to reduce the age at first calving, and increase the production per lactation as well as the number of lactations per cow. Each of these sustainable dairy farming practices will increase the profitability of the farm next to a reduction of the dairy environmental footprint.
  • Many of the disease problems on a dairy farm are related to problems with the transition to lactation. Sustainable dairy farm practices that optimise the transition management of dairy cows will result in a reduction of the incidence of disease and a reduction of veterinary costs. Healthy dairy cows are also more efficient and thus more profitable.
  • Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from manure means that the manure will be more suitable for biogas production with a higher yield of biogas from the same amount of manure while reducing the carbon footprint of dairy manure. Secondly, the manure will maintain more of its value to fertilise the land, opening the possibility to reduce the purchases of artificial fertilizer, leading to a further reduction of the dairy carbon footprint.