The effects of a short-term increase in supplementation on the reproduction performance in lactating crossbred dairy cows
Msangi, B. S. J., Bryant, M. J., Nkya, R. and Thorne, P. J. (2004) The effects of a short-term increase in supplementation on the reproduction performance in lactating crossbred dairy cows. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 36 (8). pp. 775-787. ISSN 0049-4747
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1023/B:TROP.0000045962.48326.cc
The hypothesis that dairy cows partially suckling their calves would ovulate following removal of calves when restored to positive energy balance by a short-term increase in supplementation was investigated in 65 crossbred cows. Five treatments (T1, T2, T3, T4, and T5) that differed in the amount of total concentrate fed from calving to week 24 were involved. Calves were allowed to suck residual milk to 12 weeks of age. Energy balance was estimated by measuring intake, milk yield and organic matter digestibility. The occurrence of ovulation was determined by the analysis of milk progesterone (P4) concentration. Four groups that were receiving additional supplementation were restored to positive energy balance, while the control group (T I) remained in negative energy balance. The percentage of cows ovulating was 36%, 58%, 92%, 90% and 60% for T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, respectively (P = 0.026). Comparison of the timing of ovulation for combined results from T1+T2 and T3+T4+T5 estimated mean time to fail to ovulate as 110 +/- 9.0 and 87 +/- 7.6 days, respectively (p = 0.023). The percentage of the cows showing oestrus was 9%, 8%, 33%, 40% and 40% for T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5, respectively (P = 0.197). Short-term increases in supplementation are unlikely to be an attractive means of reducing calving intervals.