Invited review: Learning from the future—A vision for dairy farms and cows in 2067

J. H. Britt, R. A. Cushman, C. D. Dechow, H. Dobson, P. Humblot, M. F. Hutjens, G. A. Jones, P. S. Ruegg, I. M. Sheldon, J. S. Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


The world's population will reach 10.4 billion in 2067, with 81% residing in Africa or Asia. Arable land available for food production will decrease to 0.15 ha per person. Temperature will increase in tropical and temperate zones, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, and this will push growing seasons and dairy farming away from arid areas and into more northern latitudes. Dairy consumption will increase because it provides essential nutrients more efficiently than many other agricultural systems. Dairy farming will become modernized in developing countries and milk production per cow will increase, doubling in countries with advanced dairying systems. Profitability of dairy farms will be the key to their sustainability. Genetic improvements will include emphasis on the coding genome and associated noncoding epigenome of cattle, and on microbiomes of dairy cattle and farmsteads. Farm sizes will increase and there will be greater lateral integration of housing and management of dairy cattle of different ages and production stages. Integrated sensors, robotics, and automation will replace much of the manual labor on farms. Managing the epigenome and microbiome will become part of routine herd management. Innovations in dairy facilities will improve the health of cows and permit expression of natural behaviors. Herds will be viewed as superorganisms, and studies of herds as observational units will lead to improvements in productivity, health, and well-being of dairy cattle, and improve the agroecology and sustainability of dairy farms. Dairy farmers in 2067 will meet the world's needs for essential nutrients by adopting technologies and practices that provide improved cow health and longevity, profitable dairy farms, and sustainable agriculture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3722-3741
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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