Profound changes in the dairy industry in recent decades have benefited the health and welfare of dairy cows, as well as consumers. A team of dairy science experts provides valuable insights into these changes, as well as the science behind them, and also identify knowledge gaps and further research needs. Their review is published in the current issue of the Journal of Dairy Science®.
"Economic pressures, technological innovations, demographic shifts, consumer expectations, and an evolving regulatory framework have all contributed to the impetus for changes in the global dairy industry," explained lead investigator Herman Barkema, DVM, PhD, Professor, Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Infectious Diseases of Dairy Cattle, Department of Production Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Calgary, Canada. "These changes have had, and will likely continue to have, profound effects on the health and welfare of dairy cows and on management practices and systems for dairy herds."
Barkema and colleagues examined the key changes taking place in the dairy industry in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, the implications of which are relevant for the dairy industry in most developed and developing nations.
The main trends they describe are:
The authors identify several opportunities that these changes offer for the future:
"The possibilities of using milk for disease diagnostics and monitoring are considerable. We expect that dairy herd improvement associations will continue to expand the number of tests offered to diagnose diseases and pregnancy," added Professor Barkema. "There is every expectation that changes in the dairy industry will be further accentuated and additional novel technologies and different management practices will be adopted in the future."
"The take-home message is that the dairy industry is changing to meet consumers' expectations for improved health and well-being of dairy animals, while at the same time increasing food production in a sustainable manner. The solution is not to turn back the hands of time, but instead combine advanced technologies with modern production practices," commented Matt Lucy, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Dairy Science, and Professor of Animal Science, University of Missouri, USA.
Materials provided by Elsevier Health Sciences. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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