Health And Welfare At The Heart Of Scottish Dairy

SCOTLAND, UK - Scotland’s inaugural Dairy Health and Welfare Conference, held yesterday (3 December) at Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries, has put cow care at the very heart of Scottish milk production.
calendar icon 4 December 2009
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The ‘Talking Health and Welfare’ event, held jointly by National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland, the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and DairyCo, was the first of its kind to focus specifically on dairy cows and saw more than 120 Scottish dairy farmers and their staff turnout to meet with industry experts.

Opening the event, NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren said: “There are challenges and rewards for all Scottish dairy farmers in ensuring that their cows are continually well cared for. The message that happy, healthy, comfortable cows are also the most profitable cows is one that has already hit home with our producers.

“Scottish dairy farmers recognise that to make a living from producing milk in the current price climate has led to pressure to keep more cows, and to produce more milk from each and every animal. In that process of restructuring dairy farming businesses, our farmers have realised that compromising on the health and welfare of their cows is a false economy.

“We need to keep building on the progress that is being made. Breeding and management improvements mean that cows are now living longer, mastitis rates are falling, and issues such as fertility and lameness are being tackled. We must keep up that progress.

“The modern dairy cow is a finely tuned animal and to maintain good welfare and to secure a decent level of profitability on dairy farms then the industry must continue to take a collaborative approach to the challenges. Our objective in setting up this event was to bring together farmers and their staff with Scottish Government, private and public vets, researchers and advisors and all sectors of the dairy trade to further improve the outstanding work the industry is undertaking. That effort was been rewarded with a fantastic turnout at a landmark conference.

“The success of this event demonstrates that farmers and the industry as a whole have recognised that the health and welfare of dairy cows is the foundation stone of their business. To maintain that, dairy farmers receive fantastic back-up from specialists such as SAC, DairyCo and the Barony College who provide the very latest in scientific research and management techniques to be adopted by producers if they are to further improve their record on health and welfare.

“The research and knowledge transfer that these organisations undertake is of immense relevance to dairy farmers and we must make every effort to ensure that this work finds its way onto dairy farms and is implemented in practical terms.”

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