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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Methodological terminology and definitions for research and discussion of cow-calf contact systems

Sirovnik, Janja; Barth, Kerstin; de Oliveira, Daiana; Ferneborg, Sabine; Haskell, Marie J.; Hillmann, Edna; Jensen, Margit Bak; Mejdell, Cecilie M.; Napolitano, Fabio; Vaarst, Mette; Verwer, Cynthia M.; Waiblinger, Susanne; Zipp, Katharina A.; Johnsen, Julie Foske


Due to increasing public concern regarding separation of the dairy cow and calf within the first days after birth, alternative systems, where cows and calves stay in contact for an extended period, are receiving increasing interest from a broad array of researchers and other stakeholders. With more research in the area, there is a risk of inconsistencies emerging in the use of terminology. To create a better consensus in further discussions, the aim of this Research Reflection is to provide definitions and propose a common terminology for cow-calf contact in dairy production. We also suggest definitions for various systems allowing cow-calf contact and describe the distinct phases of cow-calf contact systems.


Animal welfare; dairy cattle; dairy suckling systems; dam rearing; foster cow

Published in

Journal of Dairy Research
2020, Volume: 87, article number: PII S0022029920000564