Mortality of dairy cows in Georgia: From guesswork to data through farmer surveys


Understanding how often dairy cows die and from what causes are key pieces of information needed for developing valuable livestock insurance for smallholder dairy farmers. These data are not often readily available. The report brings together dairy cow mortality data from smallholder dairy cow farmers in Georgia. The information has already been used to refine a livestock insurance product to test for smallholder dairy farmers delivered with support of local dairy processors, and a Georgian insurer.

Among the key findings: i) Cow mortality during the last three years stood at 1.6%. Farmers with the smallest herd sizes experienced slightly higher rates. The single most common cause of death is disease (47%); ii) Farmers are three times more likely to sell cows than buying new ones, producing their own calves; iii) Farmers sold cows when they needed cash, and when the value of the cow decreased due to sickness, old age, or low productivity; iv) Increasing milk production was the primary motivation for new cow purchases. Learning will be shared with the IFAD-financed Dairy Modernisation and Market Access Project (DiMMA) project.

It also offers practical tools and information for replication by other projects working on dairy cow production:

  • Cow mortality and farming practices questionnaire found in Appendix 1 of the report.
  • Methodology used in the study to better under the risk profiles and farming practices
  • Alternative options to obtaining data in a data-sparse environment

The report was produced by the Microinsurance Centre at Milliman as part of the IFAD grant-funded project, “Managing risks for rural development: Promoting microinsurance innovations” (MRRD). This initiative is managed by the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) and links with the IFAD-financed portfolio in China, Ethiopia, and Georgia.

For more information on the project in Georgia, read the MRRD Georgia: Project Fast Facts.