The purpose of this investigation was to identify and describe the on-farm decision-making context of dairy farmers when they decide to induce dairy cows. A social researcher facilitated the meetings between a Waikato dairy farmer and two collaborating groups, to gather and record data regarding on-farm induced parturition decision-making over a year. These sessions took place at times when decision-making would impact most on induction. Cognitive mapping was used to capture the context within which decision-making in connection with inducing dairy cows took place. The following main conclusions were made: a long term perspective of induction is required; the induction decision-maker does not have control over all the factors that influence induction but could foresee and manage several of them by appropriately using applicable records; cow condition plays a critical role; the focus farmer had a much more straightforward view than scientists of induction and viewed it on a time line; decision-making with regards to inducing cows is a continuous process and capturing it requires a systems perspective; the interactions between different factors that influence induction become more apparent and more obvious to participants when these factors were made visual through the cognitive mapping technique.

CAJ, Botha, and GA Verkerk

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 62, Palmerston North, 257-260, 2002
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