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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347074

Research Project: Applying Developmental Programming to Improve Production Efficiency in Beef Cattle

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Invited review: Learning from the future--A vision for dairy farms and cows in 2067

Author
item Britt, Jack - North Carolina State University
item Cushman, Robert - Bob
item Dechow, C - Pennsylvania State University
item Dobson, H - University Of Liverpool
item Humblot, P - Swedish University Of Agricultural Sciences
item Hutjens, M - University Of Illinois
item Jones, G - Central Sands Dairy Llc
item Ruegg, P - Michigan State University
item Sheldon, I - Swansea University
item Stevenson, J - Kansas State University

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2018
Publication Date: 5/1/2018
Citation: Britt, J.H., Cushman, R.A., Dechow, C.D., Dobson, H., Humblot, P., Hutjens, M.F., Jones, G.A., Ruegg, P.S., Sheldon, I.M., Stevenson, J.S. 2018. Invited review: Learning from the future--A vision for dairy farms and cows in 2067. Journal of Dairy Science. 101(5):3722-3741. https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2017-14025.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2017-14025

Interpretive Summary: During the next 50 years, global population will reach 10.4 billion and per capita consumption of dairy products will increase, driving upward demand for milk. Climate change will shift location of dairy farms to areas with adequate water, and dairying will continue to provide nutrients sustainably. Dairy cows will be healthier and milk yield will double. Technologies linked to epigenomics and microbiomics will be adopted along with increased automation and greater focus on agroecology. Understanding of herd management will be improved by evaluating herds as superorganisms.

Technical Abstract: The world’s population will reach 10.4 billion in 2067 with 81% residing in Africa or Asia. Arable land available for food production will decrease to 0.15 ha per person. Temperature will increase in tropical and temperate zones, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, and this will push growing seasons and dairy farming away from arid areas and into more northern latitudes. Dairy consumption will increase because it provides essential nutrients more efficiently than many other agricultural systems. Dairy farming will become modernized in developing countries and milk production per cow will increase, doubling in countries with advanced dairying systems. Profitability of dairy farms will be the key to their sustainability. Genetic improvements will include emphasis on the coding genome and associated noncoding epigenome of cattle, and on microbiomes of dairy cattle and farmsteads. Farm sizes will increase and there will be greater lateral integration of housing and management of dairy cattle of different ages and production stages. Integrated sensors, robotics, and automation will replace much of the manual labor on farms. Managing the epigenome and microbiome will become part of routine herd management. Innovations in dairy facilities will improve the health of cows and permit expression of natural behaviors. Herds will be viewed as superorganisms, and studies of herds as observational units will lead to improvements in productivity, health, and well-being of dairy cattle, and improve the agroecology and sustainability of dairy farms. Dairy farmers in 2067 will meet the world’s needs for essential nutrients by adopting technologies and practices that provide improved cow health and longevity, profitable dairy farms, and sustainable agriculture.