Cow characteristics and their association with production performance with different dry period lengths

W. Steeneveld, A.T.M. van Knegsel, G.J. Remmelink, B. Kemp, J.C.M. Vernooij, H. Hogeveen

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Shortening or omitting the dry period (DP) has been proposed as a management strategy to improve energy balance of dairy cows in early lactation. Both shortening and complete omission of the DP reduces milk production in the subsequent lactation compared with a conventional DP length of 60 d. Some cows have less milk production loss than other cows after applying no DP or a short DP. The aim of this study is to evaluate which cow characteristics are associated with the amount of milk production losses following no DP or a short DP (30 d). Daily production information from the lactation before and after the DP was available from 161 dairy cows (54 cows with a 0-d DP, 51 cows with a 30-d DP, and 56 cows with a 60-d DP) from a research herd. Daily production (milk, fat, and protein) until 305 d in milk was estimated for all cows. Subsequently, total fat- and protein-corrected milk yield from 60 d before the expected calving date until 305 d in the following lactation (FPCMtotal) was estimated. A statistical analysis was performed to evaluate which cow characteristics were associated with limited or no production losses following no DP or a short DP, compared with a conventional DP length of 60 d. Average FPCMtotal was 9,341, 10,499, and 10,795 kg for cows with no DP, a 30-d DP, and a 60-d DP, respectively. The cow characteristics parity, daily milk production at 12 wk before the expected calving date, and reduction in daily milk production between 16 and 12 wk before the expected calving date were associated with production loss due to a short (30 d) or no DP. Compared with 60 d DP, multiparous cows had less production loss (987 kg) following no DP than primiparous cows (2,132 kg). The difference in FPCMtotal between the 3 DP groups was largest for cows with a low milk production (e.g., 10 kg/d) at 12 wk before the expected calving date. The greater the reduction in milk production between 16 and 12 wk before the expected calving date, the larger the difference in FPCMtotal between the 3 DP groups. The difference in FPCMtotal between cows with no DP and 60 d DP at a reduction in milk production between 16 and 12 wk of 10% was 665 kg, whereas this difference was 1,138 kg at a reduction of 70%. The cow characteristics found can be used to select cows for specific DP lengths in a decision-support model to support the farmer on the economic optimal DP length for each individual cow. Output of such a decision-support model can be, for instance, to advise a 30-d DP for multiparous cows with high milk production (e.g., 25 kg/d) at 12 wk before the expected calving date.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4922-4931
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume97
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • dairy-cows
  • milk-production
  • energy-balance
  • bovine somatotropin
  • metabolic status
  • holstein herds
  • short 35-d
  • lactation
  • health
  • yield

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