Reducing calving induction

The Australian dairy industry does not support routine calving induction and is working to phase it out through improved genetics, herd management practices, tools and technologies.

Some farmers induce calving of cows to ensure that calves are born in line with most of the herd, or to reduce potential welfare implications if it is thought that the size of the calf at full term may cause problems for the cow.

Induction of calving may result in:

  • A weak calf that needs special care and attention, or in some cases immediate humane destruction, and/or
  • An increased risk of mastitis, metabolic diseases, retained membranes and infection for the cow.

Use of induction can be reduced through:

  • Improving herd fertility to ensure mating at the best time – reducing the need to use calving induction, or
  • moving from seasonal calving patterns to split or year round systems.

If calving induction is practiced it should be performed under veterinary supervision.

Working on welfare

Dairy Australia has been working with research, development and extension programs and with farmers to reduce the need to use induction on farm.

Industry programs include:

  • The InCalf extension program, developed in 2006 to help improve herd fertility.
  • Encouragement of vets who specialise in dairy cattle to participate in InCalf advisor training courses.
  • Development of industry agreed guidelines to ensure cows are managed appropriately for induction.
  • Investigation of strategies to improve reproductive management in seasonal calving herds.

More information

Routine calving induction. Dairy industry revised limit of 12% for 2017 - QandAs (PDF, 309KB)

This FAQ answers questions including:

  • What is the revised routine calving induction target for 2017?
  • What progress has been made in reducing routine calving induction?
  • Why is the Australian dairy industry phasing out routine calving induction?
  • Why has no timeframe for the phase-out been set?