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The effect of dry period length on milk production, health and fertility in two cow breeds

Andrée O´Hara, Elisabeth (2019). The effect of dry period length on milk production, health and fertility in two cow breeds. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2019:57
ISBN 978-91-7760-432-7
eISBN 978-91-7760-433-4
[Doctoral thesis]

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The transition from not producing milk during the dry period to the huge nutrient demands as milk production rapidly increases after parturition imposes significant metabolic strain on high-yielding dairy cows. The drying-off procedure is also demanding and high milk yield at dry-off increases the risk of mastitis and metabolic problems. A dry period of approximately 8 weeks is generally recommended, but a shorter dry period might reduce the metabolic strain on high-yielding cows at dry-off and in early lactation. This thesis investigated the effects of different dry period lengths on the health and performance of two cow breeds.

An experimental trial was conducted in which multiparous Swedish Red (n=43) and Swedish Holstein (n=34) cows were blocked by breed and parity, and then randomly allocated to two different treatments; a conventional DP of 8 weeks (8W) or a short DP of 4 weeks DP (4W). An observational study was performed using data on 78 577 lactations from cows enrolled in the Swedish Official Milk Recording Scheme.

The experimental and observational studies both showed that shortening the dry period resulted in a reduction in milk yield during the following lactation. However, when the milk produced during the extended lactation was added, the difference diminished. Feed intake was virtually identical between cows subjected to a short and conventional dry period. The reduced milk production while feed intake was maintained in 4W cows improved their energy balance markedly. Cyclicity and commencement of luteal activity was not affected by dry period length in the experimental study and no effects of dry period on health and fertility traits were observed in the observational study. However, culling rate was lower in cows with a shorter dry period. Cows of the different breeds and of different parities responded similarly to changes in dry period. The volume of colostrum was reduced, but the protein content was higher, in cows with a short dry period. The Immunoglobulin G status of calves was not affected by the dry period of their dam. Tests on dry period >70 days showed it was not favourable, due to low milk production, increased risk of culling and decreased fertility.

In conclusion, this thesis shows that energy balance and metabolic status improve, but not health and fertility, in cows subjected to a short dry period. The reduction in milk yield after calving is compensated for by additional yield prior to calving.

Authors/Creators:Andrée O´Hara, Elisabeth
Title:The effect of dry period length on milk production, health and fertility in two cow breeds
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2019
Number of Pages:78
IAndrée O’Hara E., Omazic A., Olsson I., Båge R., Emanuelson U. & Holtenius K. (2018). Effects of dry period length on milk yield and energy balance in two cow breeds. Animal 12 (3), 508-514.
IIAndrée O’Hara E., Båge R., Emanuelson U. & Holtenius K. (2019). Effects of dry period length on metabolic status, fertility, udder health and colostrum production in two cow breeds. Journal of Dairy Science 102 (1), 595-606.
IIIAndrée O’Hara E., Holtenius K., Båge R., von Brömssen C. & Emanuelson U. Effects of dry period length on milk yield, health, and fertility in two dairy cow breeds - an observational study. (submitted to Preventive Veterinary Medicine)
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-7760-432-7
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-7760-433-4
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Article category:Other scientific
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L01 Animal husbandry
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Keywords:dry period length, feed efficiency, milk yield, metabolism, fertility, colostrum
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ID Code:16312
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:06 Sep 2019 13:18
Metadata Last Modified:06 Sep 2020 14:37

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