Through the last couple of years, I have given speeches on how to increase milk production in cows at greater dairy cattle farms, at agricultural colleges, in agricultural organizations, et cetera. It has primarily been in Canada and the USA, but also in Germany, China, Japan and France among others.
I work in a lot of different countries and have won several awards for the way our products is securing the well-being of the cows and their comfort in the barn. I believe, that with simple means, it is possible to increase the milk production in cows, while increasing their living standard and decreasing the time the farmer needs to be in the barn.
When talking about how to increase milk production in cows, the tendency is very similar everywhere you go; everyone focuses on the feed and how we get the cows to give more milk. To me, there is too little focus on HOW the cow eats and HOW MUCH the cows are lying down afterward.
What 30 seconds means to the increase in milk production
What would happen to the yield if all cows lie down 30 seconds faster than they are today?
A fit and healthy cow stands up and lies down around 12 to 15 times a day. The settlement price for conventional milk in August 2016 is around 0,65 $/l according to CME Group.
To figure out how much longer a cow would lie down if it lies down 30 seconds faster than it is today should look like this:
0.5 (30 seconds) X 12-15 (I use 13.5) (times the cow gets up and lies down) X 365 days a year:
0.5 X 13.5 X 365= 2,463.75 minutes ⇒ divided by 60 = 41 hours
For a cow to produce one liter of milk it needs 400 to 500 liters of blood to pass through its udder. If the cow is lying down, the circulation is typically 25-30% faster according to science. Lying down one more hour equals 1.7 kg of milk in the tank at the end of the day.
If a cow increases its lying down period by 41 hours, it will produce roughly 68 liters of milk on top of what it already produces. If you have 100 cows in your livestock, that is an impressive 6,800 more liters in the milk tank annually. If you times that with the settlement price of 0,65 $/l it amounts to $4,420 USD per year. It’s not going to make you super rich, but this is achieved by only enhancing the lying comfort of the cows.
When it comes to enhancing the lying comfort of the cows, Cow-Welfares FlexStall™ is very superior to normal free stalls. As it is flexible, we can allow the neck rail to be dragged 10 cm farther out and 5 cm longer down than a normal free stall, which secures that the cow is guided up and down in the correct position.
In so many farms around the world it is possible to increase the lying time with at least half an hour – in many others, we can do even greater.
As a further upside, the longer the cows are lying down, the more rested it is, as well as sinews and muscles is better relieved. The cow is showing better estrous signs, the hoofs are dried faster and the pressure on the hoofs are lowered.
If you want to know more about why cow comfort is so important for productivity, here is a very interesting piece on the subject.
How to increase milk production in cows is not rocket science – make the cows happy, and they will give back to you two-fold in return.