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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Feb;90(2):649-58.

Relationships among milk production, energy balance, plasma analytes, and reproduction in Holstein-Friesian cows.

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Teagasc Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland.


Associations were examined between components and indicators of early lactation energy balance (EB) and measures of fertility in Holstein cows. Milk production, dry matter intake (DMI), body condition score (BCS), and endocrine and metabolite data from 96 cows were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression and survival analysis. Fertility variables investigated were interval to commencement of luteal activity (C-LA), calving to conception interval (CCI), and conception rate to first service (CON1). Mean daily EB, milk protein content, and DMI during the first 28 d in milk were associated positively with CON1. Cows having poorer BCS (< or =2.25) at first service had a lower CON1. Positive associations were identified among EB, milk protein content, DMI, and the likelihood of a shorter interval to C-LA. Cows having greater DMI and a more positive EB had an increased likelihood of a shorter CCI, whereas a lower nadir BCS was associated with an increased likelihood of a longer CCI. Milk yield was not associated with any of the fertility variables investigated. A greater plasma concentration of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) during the first 2 wk of lactation was associated with a greater CON1 and an increased likelihood of a shorter interval to C-LA. In conclusion, we identified DMI as the principal component of EB influencing subsequent fertility. Furthermore, results indicate that milk protein content and plasma IGF-I concentration in early lactation may be useful indicators of reproductive efficiency.

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