Precalving factors affecting conception risk in ...

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Title Precalving factors affecting conception risk in Holstein dairy cows in tropical conditions
Author(s) Emmanuel Tillard, Patrice Humblot, Bernard Faye, Philippe Lecomte, Ian Dohoo, François Bocquier
Journal Theriogenology
Date 2007
Volume 68
Issue 4
Start page 567
End page 581
Abstract The objective of this study was to identify precalving nutritional risk factors that may affect variation in first service conception risk in 21 commercial Holstein dairy herds in a tropical environment (Reunion Island). The data set included 473 lactation records in 404 cows. A multivariate logistic-regression model including herd as a random effect was used to analyse the relationship between first service conception risk and energy status (body condition score, plasma glucose, insulin, cholesterol, non-esterified fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate), nitrogen status (urea), hepatic function (γ-glutamyltransferase, glutamate deshydrogenase, albumin), and mineral deficiencies (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium), adjusting systematically for factors such as breeding, season, parity, previous milk yield and fertility, calving to first service interval and type of oestrus (spontaneous versus induced). The overall mean conception risk was 0.27±0.02 (mean±S.E.M., n=473). First service conception risk was penalized by calving to 1st service interval shorter than 60 days, synchronized oestrus, previous 305-day milk yield >8000kg (p<0.05), low blood glucose concentration in high-yielding cows (p<0.05) and combined high urea and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations (p<0.01). Precalving energy imbalance, revealed by low prepartum glucose concentration, was a strong nutritional predictor of low first service conception risk in high-yielding cows. Some precalving nutritional disorders potentially associated with consumption of spoiled silage which induces elevated circulating urea and β-hydroxybutyrate have a delayed detrimental effect on conception, even if the true causes of this effect remain to be elucidated. As a conclusion, our findings should lead the breeders to pay more attention to the feeding of dry cows that is usually neglected in Reunion Island dairy farms.
DOI 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2007.05.002

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