45th Discover Conference

Dairy Cattle Lifespan: New Perspectives


Length of dairy cow life is a topic with many facets and current pertinent questions. Dairy cows complete on average fewer than three lactations before they are culled in the US but productive lifespan in other developed dairy countries may be substantially longer. Extended productive life is said to be good for sustainability and the image of the dairy sector. Culling and replacement are the result of the availability of heifers and the relative performance of cows in a herd, such as health, reproduction, and milk production. Aging and husbandry including nutrition and breeding affect health and performance. With the availability of sexed semen and increasing reproductive efficiency, dairy farmers can make many more heifers than they need. Economic decision making plays an important role in how long dairy cattle live. However, when cows should be replaced and what replacement rates should be remains an open-ended question, despite advances in husbandry, precision dairy farming technologies and decision support.

This ADSA Discover ConferenceSM will focus on the scientific advancements and questions and new perspectives about the important topic of dairy cattle productive lifespan. Compared to the previous DISCOVER conference on cow culling in 2004, new factors such as sexed semen, genomic testing, beef-on-dairy, increased milk production and health, and sustainability warrant a fresh look at the topic of dairy cattle lifespan.


Nutritionists, veterinary practitioners, geneticists, a wide range of researchers, dairy producers, consultants, and others with an interest in dairy cattle productive lifespan are encouraged to attend. Graduate Students and early career professionals are especially encouraged to attend.


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Your registration includes 90 days free access to the Searchable Proceedings of Animal Conferences (S-PAC).

Online Registration - Coming soon


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Reduced Registration Rates and Scholarship Travel Awards available for ADSA Discover Conferences
In 2009, the ADSA Foundation Board of Trustees approved a special ADSA Discover Conference graduate student registration rate of $195, well below the early registration professional member rate of $375. The graduate student registration rate is available to the first 10 graduate student member (ADSA-ARPAS)* registrants.

In that same year, the Foundation approved travel awards to graduate students. The Discover Conferences Scholarship Travel Award fund makes travel to Discover Conferences for graduate students more affordable by providing up to $250 per registered graduate student member (ADSA-ARPAS) who attends a Discover Conference. Ten travel awards are offered each conference. Following the conference and within 30 days of the conference, students should complete an ADSA expense report, attach receipts at least equal to the expense claimed, and send to ADSA Headquarters, 1800 South Oak Street, Suite 100, Champaign, IL 61820 Attn: Morgan Montgomery. Eligible expenses include travel, lodging, ground transportation and incidentals, in compliance with the ADSA Expense Reimbursement Policy, which includes receipt requirements. Registration fees are not reimbursable.

*If you are not currently a member of ADSA or ARPAS, graduate students can join for just $10. Click here for membership details and to join: https://www.adsa.org/Membership/Graduate-Student-Division/GSD-Membership


Date and Chicago, IL location to be determined
Hosted by the American Dairy Science Association


  • Albert DeVries, University of Florida, Co-Chair
  • Matthew Lucy, University of Missouri, Co-Chair
  • Paul Kononoff, University of Nebraska
  • Christine Baes, University of Guelph
  • Daryl Nydam, Cornell University
  • Nicolas Friggens, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)
  • Elsa Vasseur, McGill University

Conference Sponsors