The first objective of this study was to evaluate effects of dry period (DP) length and dietary energy source on ovarian activity, uterine health status, pregnancy rate, and days open in dairy cows in the second subsequent lactation after implementation of DP length and dietary treatments. The second objective was to determine relationships of uterine health status with ovarian activity, milk yield, energy balance (EB), and metabolic status in dairy cows. Holstein-Friesian dairy cows (n = 167) were assigned randomly to 1 of 3 DP lengths (0-, 30-, or 60-d) and 1 of 2 early lactation diets (glucogenic or lipogenic diet) for 2 subsequent lactations. Milk samples were collected three times a week. At least two succeeding milk samples with concentration of progesterone ≥2 ng/mL were used to indicate the occurrence of luteal activity. Vaginal discharge was scored in wk 2 and 3 after calving to evaluate uterine health status and cows were classified as having a healthy uterine environment [HU, vaginal discharge score (VDS) = 0 or 1 in both wk 2 and 3], a recovering uterine environment (RU, VDS = 2 or 3 in wk 2 and VDS = 0 or 1 in wk 3), or a non-recovering uterine environment (NRU, VDS = 2 or 3 in wk 3). Cows were monitored for milk yield, dry matter intake (DMI), and blood was sampled weekly to determine metabolic status from calving to wk 3 postcalving. Dry period length was not related with uterine health status in early lactation, pregnancy rate, or days open in dairy cows. Independent of DP length, feeding a glucogenic diet shortened the interval from calving to onset of luteal activity (25.3 vs. 31.0 d, P = 0.04), but decreased pregnancy rate compared with a more lipogenic diet (68.2 vs. 78.1 d, P = 0.03). In the first 3 wk after calving, cows with a NRU had lower milk yield (36.8 vs. 36.8 vs. 32.4 kg for cows with a HU, RU, or NRU, respectively; P < 0.01) and lower DMI than cows with a HU or RU. Cows with a RU had lower plasma glucose and insulin concentrations than cows with a NRU or HU. In conclusion, DP length did not influence fertility measures and uterine health status in the second subsequent lactation after implementation of DP length treatments. Independent of DP length, feeding a glucogenic diet leaded to earlier ovulation postcalving, but decreased pregnancy rate compared with a more lipogenic diet. In addition, a healthy uterine environment was related to greater milk yield and better metabolic status, independent of DP length.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Oct 2017|
- Continuous milking
- Glucogenic nutrient
- Lipogenic nutrient
- Uterine health