FUnctional Length of Life (FULL) - a better indicator of the length of life of dairy cows

Last changed: 22 April 2024

The goal of this project is to develop FULL – FUnctional Length of Life of a dairy cow – a metric that combines length of life with how well the cow “functions” in her environment/herd, and that can be used to assess the quality of life of dairy cows

We will use data on events that a dairy cow experiences throughout her life that have effects on her welfare (positive or negative), quantify that effect in terms of magnitude and duration and combine this information algebraically with her length of life into FULL.

We will use expert knowledge elicitation to identify relevant events, their effects and consequences and apply the resulting function on data from Swedish dairy herds to examine the distributional properties of FULL and to cross-validate FULL.

We expect to have a metric that captures the length of life (LL) of a dairy cow, but adjust it for estimated welfare impediments/benefits, so it is a better estimation of the functional life of a cow than LL.

We expect to have identified systematic effects that are associated with FULL and thus may be used to explain variations in FULL, and how FULL is associated with the economic performance of dairy farms.

This answers to direct needs expressed by dairy farmers in Sweden and will therefore have great chances to become implemented and have significant effects on animal welfare and productivity.


Project period and funding:
2024-01-01 -- 2025-12-31

The project funds by: The Swedish Research Counsil FORMAS

Project group:

Nils Fall, Professor at the veterinary epidemiology, Dept. of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Ulf Emanuelsson, Researcher at the Dept of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Karin Alvåsen, Researcher at the Dept of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Lisa Ekman, Växa

Daiana de Olivera, Linnaeus University.


Nils Fall, Professor
Department of Clinical Sciences
Phone: 018-67 13 96