Factors affecting milk production
During the past few decades dairy cow genetics have evolved significantly, allowing us to breed cows with higher genetic merits, targeting higher milk production and improved feed conversion rates. Improving genetics have also led to a better shape and positioning of the udder, making milking easier, reducing mastitis, and lowering the number of fatalities during calving.
Modern dairy farming is associated with increasing farm size, more living space per cow, more feeding trough space per cow, more comfortable bedding conditions, easier access to feed and water, better climate control to avoid heat stress, and better management for transition cows. All these improvements have led to more comfort and less stress for cows, especially around calving, resulting in higher milk production and lower disease rates.