What is the average age a dairy cow lives to?

The majority of dairy cows in a milking herd are aged between 4 - 7 years, however this can vary.

Last updated 30/04/2021

It has been reported that dairy cattle can live up to 20 years though this is more the exception than the rule. While the majority of dairy cows in a milking herd are aged between 4 - 7 years, it is not uncommon for dairy cows to be 8 years or older.

The Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Report 2017 shows the age structure of the Australian dairy herd (2016-2017) to be approximately: two to three years old 42%, four to five years old 30%, six to seven years old 18%, and eight years and older 10%.

Despite the efforts dairy farmers put into caring for their cattle, dairy cows of any age can develop health and physical issues which may shorten their time in the milking herd.

For more information, see the following fact sheet: Dairy Herd Improvement Report

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