Published 30.01.2023

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Skin care: organic cows must always have access to cow brushes

According to Organic Sector Commitments, organic cows must have access to skin care both in all stable sections and on pasture. Commitments also apply to calves, beef cattle and grazing animals.

Organic cows must be able to carry out skin care. Since 1 July 2022, all Danish cattle farms that follow Sector Commitments have had to comply with the requirement that animals must be able to carry out natural skin care. 

At a minimum, the animals must have access to:

  • Dairy cows and barren cows: one rotating mechanically driven cow brush per 50 cows.
  • Cows in communal preparation stables and suckling cows: one rotating cow brush per 50 cows. No requirement for a mechanically powered cow brush.
  • Calving cows in single stables: one stationary cow brush.
  • Young animals and calves in groups (three calves or more): one stationary cow brush.
  • Beef cattle: one stationary cow brush per 50 animals.
Photo: Henrik Bjerregrav
Photo: Henrik Bjerregrav

Photo: Dairy cows and barren cows must have one rotating mechanically driven cow brush available per 50 cows.

The required number of rotating cow brushes is estimated by rounding up the amount to the nearest whole number of brushes.

Number of rotating cow brushes required in relation to the number of cows:

  • 1-50 cows must have one cow brush.
  • 51-100 cows must have two cow brushes.
  • 101-150 cows must have three cow brushes.

The Organic Sector Commitments set higher standards than national legislation

The Organic Sector Commitments set higher standards regarding the number of rotating cow brushes than the national animal welfare requirements for keeping cattle. The law on keeping dairy cattle requires one brush for up to 74 cows, two brushes for 75 to 124 cows, etc.

According to the Organic Sector Commitments, grazing animals must also have access to cow brush, trees, scratchers, or the like if they do not have daily access to the brushes in the stable. Grazing animals are not required to have access to brushes in the national legislation.

The cow brushes must always be in a condition so that they fulfill their purpose. For instance, the brushes must not be worn off, and stationary cow brushes must not be poorly attached.

Organic Sector Commitments to improve animal welfare, the environment, and ethics in producing organic milk and meat from cattle farms are determined by the Danish Dairy Board, Organic Denmark, and the Organic Section of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council.