Dutch dairy farmers’ perspectives on culling reasons and strategies

P.S. Kulkarni*, M.C.M. Mourits, J. Slob, A.M.B. Veldhuis, M. Nielen, H. Hogeveen, G. van Schaik, W. Steeneveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Since the abolishment of the milk quota system in Europe in 2014 and the introduction of environmental policies such as the phosphate rights system in the Netherlands, the reasons for culling dairy cows might have changed. The aim of this study was to determine the culling reasons for dairy cattle and to identify farmers’ culling strategies and their intentions regarding the alteration of indicated culling strategies. To this end, an online questionnaire was distributed among dairy farmers nationally that resulted in 207 responses. Results showed that the most frequent culling reasons were related to problems with reproduction, udder, and hoof health. Primiparous cows were primarily culled for miscellaneous reasons such as injury, reproduction failure, and low milk yield. Multiparous cows were culled predominantly for reproduction failure, udder health and hoof health reasons. Most respondents indicated that they consider formulating a culling strategy, based on certain rules of thumb regarding the most common reasons for culling. Most farmers also reported that culling decisions on their farms were perceived to be unavoidable, though reproductive culling decisions are primarily voluntary. Most respondents stated that they intended to reduce the culling rate for better economic gain did not intend to alter the amount of replacement stock reared. The applied rules of thumb regarding culling strategies do not seem to have changed since the policy changes in dairy farming. The question remains whether farmers’ rules of thumb might have made them unaware of the actual economic consequences of their culling strategies under the altered situation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105997
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Culling
  • Dairy
  • Intentions
  • Longevity
  • Reasons
  • Survey


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