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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Mar;90(3):1417-28.

Metabolism and udder health at dry-off in cows of different breeds and production levels.

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1
Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-753 23 Uppsala, Sweden. Martin.Odensten@huv.slu.se

Abstract

The effects of milk yield at dry-off (DO), different calving intervals (CI; 12 and 15 mo) and breed on metabolism and udder health were studied in 56 primiparous and multiparous cows of the Swedish Red and White (SRB) and Swedish Holstein (SH) breeds. The cows were dried off 55 +/- 5 d prior to expected parturition. They were fed 4 kg of DM as silage and wheat straw ad libitum for 5 d, and were milked in the morning of d 2 and 5. Depending on their daily milk yield, the cows were divided into 3 numerically equal groups on 2 d during the week prior to DO: low (LY; 5.0 to 11.4 kg of milk/d, n = 19), medium (MY; 11.5 to 17.7 kg of milk/d, n = 19), and high (HY; 17.8 to 29.5 kg of milk/d, n = 18). The plasma cortisol concentration increased during DO only in MY and HY cows. Plasma nonesterified fatty acids increased during DO in all groups, but the maximum nonesterified fatty acid concentration was related to the milk yield prior to DO. The plasma glucose level during the DO period was not significantly affected by yield, but the insulin concentration decreased after DO, with a more pronounced drop in the HY group. The CI 15-mo group had a higher glucose level and tended to have a higher insulin level in plasma than the CI 12-mo group before DO. They also had a higher body condition than the CI 12-mo group. The results indicate that the CI 15-mo cows had a more positive nutrient balance. There were no effects of CI on milk production or composition during DO. The SRB and SH breeds did not differ in any of the measured plasma parameters or milk production. However, the lower somatic cell counts in SRB than in SH observed before and during DO, as well as after parturition, were attributed to being an effect of breed. The proportion of cows with intramammary infections (IMI) was significantly lower just after calving in the LY group than in the other yield groups. At 2 and 3 wk after DO, significantly fewer cows in the LY group had open teat canals compared with the HY and MY groups, respectively, but teat-end condition did not differ between yield groups. The yield before DO did not significantly influence the somatic cell counts during the first 4 wk after parturition or the presence of IMI 4 wk after parturition. We concluded that in the present study, higher milk yield prior to DO gave rise to a more pronounced metabolic response and a higher risk of contracting IMI during the dry period, at calving, or both, but yield at DO did not have any long-term effects on udder health. A prolonged CI did not facilitate a rapid decrease in milk production. The SRB and SH breeds responded equally in decreasing the milk production during DO, but the SRB breed had lower somatic cell counts.

PMID:
17297115
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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