A novel approach to understanding the impact of dry-off on dairy cow welfare in automatic milking systems

PI: Kate Creutzinger


Creutzinger is an assistant professor in animal and food science at UW–River Falls, whose position is funded entirely by the Dairy Innovation Hub. Her research interests involve the improvement of dairy cattle quality of life used in various agriculture systems by developing a robust teaching and research program focused on applied behavior, welfare, and sustainability. Creutzinger started in August 2021.

Graduate student (pictured above): Elizabeth McGuire received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education and technology education from the UW–Platteville. As an undergraduate, McGuire provided agriculture education to the public as well as aided in establishing UW–Platteville’s Association of Women in Agriculture. McGuire is currently pursuing a master’s degree in dairy welfare and management co-mentored by Kate Creutzinger and Jennifer Van Os.

The abrupt cessation of milking is a well-established dairy management practice used to begin the dry period, but few studies have investigated the impact of abruptly ending milking on dairy cow welfare. After dry-off, milk accumulates in the udder and leaks from teat ends, which increases the risk of cow discomfort and intramammary infection. This project investigates the use of automatic milking systems to characterize self dry-off and gradual dry off of late lactation cows.

Jennifer Van Os