The importance of a high lifetime daily yield

Dairy farming will play a key role in feeding the world's population in the coming decades. This increase will also have to be brought about in an increasingly sustainable way. This presents three challenges:

  1. The impact on the environment and the use of natural resources must be limited as much as possible.
  2. It is imperative that the health and welfare of dairy cattle be guaranteed, to ensure that society's trust in the food production chain increases even further.
  3. Developing a sustainable business that brings sufficient returns for the current and next generation.

Sustainable dairy farming with the lowest possible footprint

Research1 shows that there is a clear link between technical/economic performance and emissions. Farms with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions show an increase in margin of 1 EUR/100 liter of milk produced. This presents a unique opportunity for dairy farmers, as healthy animals are clearly more productive and therefore also produce the lowest emissions per liter of milk.2 Therefore, efforts that contribute to sustainable dairy farming dovetail nicely with reducing the footprint.

In short, there are plenty of challenges for you as a dairy farmer. To meet these three challenges, it is important for you to take care of the animals on your farm, from birth to removal, as efficiently as possible resulting in a high(er) lifetime daily yield. Using the HealthyLife Calculator, you can take the first step. You do the math!

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Calculate the lifetime daily yield

Average lifetime daily yield has shown a positive trend in recent years, increasing by over 1 kilogram of milk/life-day in 5 years' time (from 14.8 kg of milk/life-day in 2016 to 15.9 kg of milk/life-day in 20203). This increase is explained by a slightly lower calving age and an increase in the number of production days.

Read the article on lifetime daily yield

4 key figures for HealthyLife

Aim for a lifetime daily yield of 20 kg of milk per life-day

However, the variation in lifetime daily yield is still significant. Research4 shows that the lifetime daily yield of a group of farms varies between 12.9 and 18.0 kg of milk/daily yield. At the individual farm level, the variation is even greater with some dairy farmers achieving 22 kg milk/daily yield whereas other farms reach slightly more than 10 kg milk/daily yield. German research has shown that the goal should be a lifetime daily yield of at least 20 kg milk/daily yield to ensure maximum economic viability.

Get more from rearing!

Did you know that the average calving age in the Netherlands has been stuck at 26 months for years? There's room for improvement. In fact, research shows that the highest production rates are achieved at a calving age of 22 months. In addition to lowering the calving age, the replacement rate also provides opportunities for cost savings. This can also increase your livestock's longevity.


  1. Sustainable Dairy in Europe, 2020
  2. Food and Agriculture Organization & Global Dairy Platform, 2019
  3. CBS data
  4. Countus economic analysis (2017-2019) commissioned by Trouw Nutrition