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In the Danish OrganicRDD4 project 'Cow'n'Calf', we research organic cow and calf contact systems

Aarhus University, Organic Denmark, Thise Dairy Company, Naturmælk and TruTest research possibilities to have cows and calves in dairy systems in the project 'KALVvedKO'

Here you can find more info (although in Danish) about the project: icrofs.dk/forskning/dansk-forskning/organic-rdd-4/kalvvedko/

Cow'n'Calf aims at creating a scientific basis for development of novel systems for mother-bonded calf rearing during the milk feeding period in organic dairy farming.

This is a major break with the tradition of separating dam and calf 24 hours after birth. The team behind the project believes that research is paramount to overcome significant challenges related to management, handling and farm infrastructure.

Where the CORE Organic Cofund project GrazyDaiSy mainly focuses on grazing and outdoor life of cows and calves, we focus on indoor systems in Cow'n'calf. 

A large part of the project is based on trials in private herds with different milking systems to investigate full- versus part-time mother-bonded rearing. A major challenge in cow-calf systems is the stress caused by breaking the strong social and nutritional bonds at weaning. Therefore we want to research different types of step-wise weaning procedures using fences and nose-flaps. We aim at being able to quantify the effect of these methods in systems with either part- or full-time contact.

Like in GrazyDaiSy, we also investigate and develop farming strategies for mother-bonded calf rearing systems. But where GrazyDaiSy look at cow-calf contact systems under widely different conditions in different countries, this project has a strong focus on different Danish organic farming conditions. In Denmark, the average herd size is relatively big, and we need to calculate how the effects of these systems possibly affect farm productivity and economics. We also use qualitative research approaches and Stable Schools to develop handling methods and health promotion in cow-calf systems on private farms in Denmark.

Focus will be on both robot (AMS) and milking parlour systems as well as seasonal and all-year-round calving patterns.