I live in town but have worked with dairy cows for about three years in total. I currently work on a dairy farm just outside of the town where I live. I work morning and night everyday milking cows, doing field work, and other chores on the farm. My boss has been on the Dairy Farmers of America and Midwest Dairy board for many years.
One night when we were milking, he told me that as of 1/1/17 you can’t dock tails anymore. To be honest, I don’t get the whole concept of why this law was put in place. Do you know how many big dairy farms in Northeast Iowa dock their tails? Almost 70 %. Why would this law be put in place to make every dairy farmer have to change the way they farm. I would like to inform you that they did a study on a farm in Wisconsin. The study involved docking tails of 600 cows and leaving the other half alone. This study proved that the cows with docked tails did not show any health problems. There somatic cell count, protein, and butterfat did not change between the two different herds. They said that the cows with docked tails were in fact cleaner and looked better than cows without their tails docked.
My final point is that cow tails hang off the edge of their stalls in the free-stall barns and when the scraper goes by or the cow's tail is down, the manure it gets dirty. Have you ever milked cows in a parlor without their tails being docked? It's awful! Their tails are hard, manure-covered, and it is hard to see when milking and trying to find the tits. I hope this helps you change your mind on this law.