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J Dairy Sci. 2000 May;83(5):968-76.

The impact of somatotropin, milking frequency, and photoperiod on dairy farm nutrient flows.

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Department of Animal and Avian Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park 20742, USA.


Three technologies that increase milk production per cow and that are available to dairy producers are bovine somatotropin, three times daily milking, and extended daily photoperiod. Dairy herds fed according to National Research Council requirements were simulated to predict the impact of these technologies on N losses to manure and to water resources. Because Dairy Herd Improvement Association total lactation records (n = 93,080) revealed a positive linear relationship between 305-d milk production and calving interval, calving intervals were predicted to increase with the use of technologies and to result in a change in the ratio of lactating cows to growing heifers in a herd. Compared with a herd using no technologies, the use of bovine somatotropin, three times daily milking, or extended photoperiod were predicted to reduce herd N excretion per unit of milk by 7.8, 7.0, and 3.6%, respectively. When the use of all three technologies was simulated, N losses to manure were decreased by 15.7% when assuming calving interval increases from the technologies or 15.4% without accounting for calving interval increases. Reductions in feed N requirements and manure N losses with these three technologies were predicted to reduce environmental N loading by up to 16%.

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