Palacio, S., Zambelis, A., Adam, S. et al. 2023. Reassessing cow comfort measures on Canadian dairy farms after a recommendation of improvements. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 103(2), 174–184.

In a previous study (Assessment 1), an on-farm assessment tool was used to establish a standard across 60 Quebec dairy farms using animal-, stall-, and management-based measures of cow comfort. The objective of the present follow-up study (Assessment 2) was to perform a reassessment using an identical cow comfort assessment tool on a subset of the original farms expected to benefit most from applying the recommended changes, and to determine the effects of the modifications on cow comfort. From the subsample of farms, 24 reported applying stall modifications based on recommendations from Assessment 1 with the aim of promoting cow comfort (Adopters), while the remaining 10 farms did not (Non-adopters). The assessment tool included 19 target areas, grouped into 9 critical areas based on measures of cow comfort that considered housing, feed-water, health, and welfare. The on-farm report of Assessment 1 was found to increase producer awareness of issues in cow comfort measures on farms, as shown by an improvement in stall design according to recommendations based on cow body dimensions and reduced injury prevalence. Routine reassessment of cow comfort measures may be important to use in supporting target achievement improvements as part of welfare improvement strategies.

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