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Effects of Some Management Factors on Milk Production in First-calf Heifers

  • Broucek, J. (Research Institute of Animal Production) ;
  • Arave, C.W. (Utah State University, Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences) ;
  • Kisac, P. (Research Institute of Animal Production) ;
  • Mihina, S. (Research Institute of Animal Production) ;
  • Flak, P. (Research Institute of Animal Production) ;
  • Uhrincat, M. (Research Institute of Animal Production) ;
  • Hanus, A. (Research Institute of Animal Production)
  • Received : 2005.07.05
  • Accepted : 2005.12.30
  • Published : 2006.05.01

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate whether milk performance is impacted by the housing of heifers from the second to the seventh day of life, the method of feeding milk from the second week of life to weaning, the sire lineage and by the season of birth and season of calving. From 32 Holstein heifer-calves, which spent their first day of life in a loose housing maternity pen with their mother, 19 heifers were randomly placed in hutches (IH), and 13 stayed in a loose housing maternity pen (MP). At the seventh day IH heifers were assigned to one of two treatments, 10 heifers were randomly taken from IH and relocated to a loose housing pen with an automatic feeding station (AD), 9 calves stayed in hutches with bucket drinking (BD). MP heifers were moved to a group pen with nursing cows (UD). All animals were weaned at the age of 8 weeks (56 days) and kept in group pens. After calving, they were in free-stall housing. Trial cows were divided according to the sire, season of birth and calving. The five-factorial ANOVA revealed that among all the factors taken into account in this study, only sire lineage and season of birth had significant effects. The production of milk, FCM and protein were higher in the MP group than in the IH group. The UD group tended to have the highest production of milk, FCM, protein, lactose, SNF and total solids (TS) and the AD group the lowest. The content of fat and TS were highest in the AD group. Effects of the sire were significant for average daily gains (ADG) from birth to weaning ($0.55{\pm}0.03kg$, p<0.05), contents of fat ($3.81{\pm}0.08%$, p<0.05), protein ($3.13{\pm}0.02%$, p<0.05), and TS ($12.67{\pm}0.12%$, p<0.05). In the season of birth evaluation, statistical difference was found only in the content of protein ($3.13{\pm}0.13%$, p<0.05). Cows born in March-May had the highest % protein and cows born in June-August the lowest ($3.21{\pm}0.04$ vs. $3.06{\pm}0.05%$). Dairy cows born and subsequently calving in December-February had the highest production of milk, protein and TS, and dairy cows born in June-August the lowest. FCM and fat yields were highest in the group born in September-November and lowest in the group born in June-August.

Keywords

Dairy Cow;Milk Performance;Rearing;Housing;Sire Lineage;Season of Birth and Calving

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