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Health of cows, calves and young stock on 26 organic dairy herds in Sweden
  1. C. Hamilton, DVM1,
  2. K. Forslund, DVM, PhD1,
  3. I. Hansson, DVM2,
  4. U. Emanuelson, PhD3 and
  5. T. Ekman, DVM, PhD4
  1. 1 Department of Ruminant Medicine and Epidemiology
  2. 2 Department of Food Hygiene
  3. 3 Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7019, S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
  4. 4 Swedish Dairy Association, Eskilstuna, Sweden

Abstract

The health and housing of the stock on 26 organic dairy herds in four counties in eastern Sweden were studied for one year. The herds ranged in size from 12 to 64 cows, and their milk production from 3772 to 10,334 kg per cow per year. A large-animal practitioner visited the farms three times during the year, and a random sample of a third of the cows in each herd were examined. The calves and young stock and their housing were also studied. The calves were in good condition in all but four herds; their serum immunoglobulins varied from almost none to high levels. The young stock were in good condition and in good housing in 20 herds. No cows with clinical signs of metabolic disorders were found. Body condition scores were adequate or good except in two herds. Acetone was analysed in milk samples from individual cows three to six weeks postpartum, and only sporadic cases with high levels were found. The incidence of diseases treated by a veterinarian was lower in the organic herds than the average for the conventional herds in the local dairy association. The findings at the farm visits supported these data, and it is evident that a good standard of health and welfare can be achieved in organic dairy herds.

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