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Vet J. 2009 Jun;180(3):356-62. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2008.02.003.

Modelling responses to nutritional, endocrine and genetic strategies to increase fertility in the UK dairy herd.

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  • 1School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK. james.maas@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

The United Kingdom, as in most countries using intensive dairy management programmes, is facing serious challenges in terms of dairy cow fertility, as highlighted by a rapidly increasing calving interval (CI). A mechanistic, mathematical model is described that predicts the size of the future national dairy herd required to supply domestic requirements and its inherent sustainability in terms of production of replacement female numbers. The results from the model suggest that continuing use of current management strategies may result in the national dairy herd being unsustainable due to increasing CI and reduced fertility in as few as 10years. Adoption of nutritional, endocrine and genetic techniques that increase fertility can effectively and rapidly reverse this trend and reduce the required size of the national herd, thereby reducing methane emissions from dairy production.

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