Phasing Out Calving Induction
The Australian dairy industry does not support routine calving induction and has committed to phase it out by 1 January 2022.
Calving induction is the induction of parturition (delivery of the calf) before full term.
Routine (non-therapeutic) calving induction is the induction of calving for management purposes, ensuring cows calve in a compact time period in order to maximise pasture availability to the herd. Routine calving induction is often performed on the late calving proportion of the herd.
Therapeutic calving induction is the induction of calving to prevent welfare implications of mismated animals or down cows, as deemed appropriate by a registered veterinarian. Therapeutic induction is not subject to the industry phase out.
Induction of calving may result in:
- A weak calf that needs special care and attention, or in some cases immediate euthanasia.
- 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.
- Moving from seasonal to split calving patterns or year round systems.
If calving induction is practised, it should be performed under veterinary supervision, at or below the within-herd limit set by the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) for this year.
The phase out will include annual within-herd limits until 1 January 2022, with an assessment of progress at the end of each season. These are:
- 2020 – 6% of a herd
- 2021 – 5% of a herd
- 2022 – No cows to be induced without dispensation
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 to help improve herd fertility – speak to your RDP to register your interest in the next InCharge Fertility workshop.
- Managing calving patterns is key for phasing out induction – find more resources on our Managing calving patterns page.
- Repro Right adviser training is a course to develop fertility analysis skills in dairy vets and advisers – find out more including a list of advisers.
- Selecting for short gestation and high calving ease bulls in the Good Bulls Guide can help tighten calving periods.
- A policy on calving induction and veterinary guidelines from the Australian Veterinary Association, with their interest group Australian Cattle Veterinarians.
Recording of inductions
As of 2021, all routine calving inductions should now be recorded at the time of induction by the veterinarian, and signed by the dairy farmer. This information is then provided through to the farmer's milk processor (via the secretariat for calving induction). A copy of the form should be provided to the farmer for their QA records.
This process was initiated to allow for:
- Greater transparency to milk processors
- Better data collection on the phase out process
- Greater accountability by the farmers for the inductions.
ADIC Calving induction record form 2021PDF, 7.81 MB
In the case of exceptional circumstances which result in herds requiring induction above industry targets, such as natural disasters or unavoidable animal health events, veterinarians may apply for dispensation on behalf of the farmer.
Applications are reviewed by the Dispensation Panel, which includes representatives from Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Cattle Veterinarians and Australian Dairy Products Federation, supported by Dairy Australia. These should be submitted two months before the proposed induction start date.
Calving induction dispensation application form 2019DOCX, 229.15 KB
Routine calving induction to be phased out by 2022PDF, 144.02 KB
Routine Calving Induction FAQs 2019 2022PDF, 285.71 KB