ROME — Bayer has brought together dairy practitioners, innovators and scientists from around the world for the first ever Bayer Dairy Cattle Summit in Rome.
The event, held between 4th–6th April, focussed on delivering the latest scientific research across six key issues impacting the dairy cattle industry now and in the future.
Udder health and milk quality formed a central part of the summit programme, in addition to the latest thinking in animal well-being, metabolic diseases, fertility and calf health. The event also cast an eye towards the future of dairy health, providing an assessment of the industry’s economic situation for future years.
Dr Almut Hoffmann, Head of Farm Animal Products, at Animal Health, Bayer, said: “It is predicted that, by 2025, the industry will need to produce 208 million tonnes more milk to meet the growing global demand. The scientific advancements that must be made to meet this demand are significant if the industry is to sustainably increase the number of dairy cows in the world and their yield, whilst also ensuring the health and well-being of these animals, which is of the utmost importance.
“We are committed to enhancing dairy cattle health through the sharing of scientific education, extensive R&D and exploration of new digital technologies. The Bayer Dairy Cattle Summit is an important meeting for scientific minds within the industry to discuss the latest innovations within dairy cattle health and well-being, and their application by those actively involved in milk production and the husbandry of animals.”
More than three hundred participants, including specialist veterinarians, researchers and key industry thought leaders, attended the three-day event to discuss new ways to maintain and improve the lives of milk producing animals and those involved in their management and care.
Amongst those who spoke at the congress were the following well-known scientists and academics, each focusing on a specifically chosen key topic:
• Prof. Ynte Schukken, GD Animal Health, University of Utrecht and Wageningen, Netherlands
New Developments in Bovine Mastitis
Prof. Schukken revealed the exciting discovery of the udder microbiome, which opens new insights on udder health and immunity of the mammary gland and paves the way for alternative therapeutic approaches.
• Prof. Xavier Manteca, University of Barcelona, Spain, Farm Animal Welfare Education Center
Well-Being of Dairy Cattle
Changing insights in well-being have allowed us to better interpret the emotional state of dairy cattle. Prof. Manteca championed the role of the vet in helping farmers consider social behaviour, human-animal interactions, pain mitigation and cow comfort in their approach to well-being.
• Prof. Stephen LeBlanc, University of Guelph, Canada
Management of Ketosis – A Critical Element of Health in the Transition Cow and Reproductive Performance
Prof. LeBlanc highlighted the strong relationship between (subclinical) ketosis and the incidence of uterine disease, impaired reproductive performance and reduced milk production. The importance of routine monitoring of subclinical ketosis in the first 2 weeks of lactation was emphasized.
• Prof. Martin Kaske, Swiss Bovine Health Service, Switzerland
“Fit for Future”: How Insights from Epigenetics Changed Concepts for Calf Rearing
The first 8 weeks of a dairy calf determines its performance in later life. Prof. Kaske presented the latests insights in epigenetics, which explain the mechanism of metabollic programming and how this redefines management objectives for dairy health.
• Dr. Torsten Hemme, International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) Kiel, Germany
Dairy Economics, the Dairy World Now and in 2025
A growing population and a change in diets will increase dairy consumption with 2-3% per annum. Dr Hemme discussed how dairy production will adapt to keep up with this demand and the economic changes needed for the industry to prosper.
• Dr. Scott McDougall, Cognosco Animal Health & Production Research, New Zealand
Improving Reproduction in Dairy Herds: Technical and Motivational Tools
Dr Scott McDougall explained how farmers themselves could be the biggest barrier to improved fertility performance in their herd. His lecture applied social science models to explain how veterinarians can help to improve the acceptance and implementation of their recommendations by farmers.
• Prof. Daniel Berckmans, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium
Precision Dairy Farming Technologies: Key Principles and Practices
With the growing dairy herd size there is a bigger need for technological support in animal health surveillance. Prof. Berckmans outlined new technologies in dairy management, including automated body condition scoring, feed intake monitoring and lameness scoring.
In-line with Bayer: Science for a Better Life, the Summit was developed to help stimulate positive change through innovation, and promote discussion within the industry on the application of science to address the key issues affecting its future sustainability.
Animal Health at Bayer has been actively sharing scientific education around the world for many years, with a key focus on dairy. The company is also active in supporting veterinarians and dairy farmers in their role, investing in the development of technological solutions to help maximize efficiencies and overcome commonly-faced challenges.
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
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