Causes of culling in dairy cows and its relation to age at culling and interval from calving in Shiraz, Southern Iran

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Food Hygiene and Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of Animal Health Management, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

3 Department of Internal Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, Islamic Azad University, Kazeroon Branch, Kazeroon, Iran


This study was designed to investigate causes of culling in industrial dairy herds in Fars province and to describe the pattern of reason-specific culling with respect to age of animal and interval from calving to culling. A total number of 9 dairy herds were selected for the study and information about culling reasons, birth date, last calving date and culling date was collected for culled cows during 2005- 2006. Infertility (32.6% of all culls) was the most prevalent reason of culling followed by mastitis (6.5%). The time interval from last calving to culling averaged 240 days (SD = 176) and nearly 28% of cows were culled in the first 100 days after calving. Mean age of animals at culling was 6 years (SD = 2.7) and median was 5.7 years. In Cox proportional hazard model for calving to culling interval, infertility (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.26) showed lower risk whereas mastitis (HR = 2.40), left displaced abomasum (HR = 2.60) and peripartum problems (HR = 2.60) had higher risk of culling compared with voluntary cull. In the Cox model for age at culling, risk of culling was significantly higher for infertility (HR = 1.70), left displaced abomasum (HR = 3.15), and peripartum problems (HR = 2.10) compared with voluntary culling. In conclusion, farmers tend to keep infertile cows for longer period from calving to culling while infertile cows are generally culled at younger age. Also, early culling appeared to have a high proportion of culls in the studied herds.