Cull and Casualty Cows

Why is it measured?

Voluntary culls include cows that are removed from the herd through an informed planned decision, the majority of which are sold. Involuntary/casualty/on-farm culls include cows that have either died or been slaughtered on-farm and are as such unplanned and could include ‘down’ cows or those with injuries or lameness.  Cows are commonly selected for culling as a result of infertility, mastitis, low yields and diseases such as Johne’s disease.  Whilst culling is essential to maintain a healthy herd of cows a high culling/replacement rate is expensive and may indicate underlying issues. Ideally cows should be chosen for culling at such a time that casualty culling is kept to a minimum and a herd with longevity and good welfare results. Good stockmanship, husbandry, housing, nutrition and disease control should not only reduce the occurrence of the conditions that often result in premature culling but also minimise the number of cattle that need to be killed on farm. Monitoring the numbers and reasons for both voluntary and involuntary culling provides a useful reflection of herd health, welfare and longevity and can indicate areas of weakness.

How to assess and score using the AssureWel measure

 11. Cull and Casualty Cows                                                                                                                Records

Check farm records and record the number of animals in the last 12 months per 100 cows for the following categories:
a) No. planned culls
b) No unplanned culls or casualty cows (died or killed on farm) in the last 12 months. Please, where possible, also record reasons here.
c) No. of enforced culls, e.g. TB.

  1. Mobility
  2. Body condition
  3. Cleanliness   
  4. Hair loss, lesions 
  5. Swellings
  6. Broken tails    
  7. Response to stockperson
  8. Cows needing further care
  9. Mastitis
  10. Calf/Heifer survivability
  11. Cull and Casualty Cows


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