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.
Routine calving induction has been used on some farms to ensure calves are born in line with most of the herd to maximise feed available to the cows, 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 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.
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 2019(09 July 2020)DOCX, 229.15 KB
Routine calving induction to be phased out by 2022(09 July 2020)PDF, 144.02 KB
Routine Calving Induction FAQs 2019 2022(09 July 2020)PDF, 285.71 KB