Associations between Body Condition Score, Bodyweight and Reproductive Performance in Seasonal-calving Pasture-based Dairy Cattle
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Roche, JR and Macdonald, KA and Burke, CR and Berry, DP, Associations between Body Condition Score, Bodyweight and Reproductive Performance in Seasonal-calving Pasture-based Dairy Cattle, Journal of Dairy Science, 90, (1) pp. 376-391. ISSN 0022-0302 (2007) [Refereed Article]
The objective of the present study was to identify and quantify relationships between body condition score (BCS) and body weight (BW) in dairy cows with reproduction variables in pasture-based, seasonal-calving dairy herds. Over 2,500 lactation records from 897 spring-calving Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were used in the analyses. Eleven BCS- and 11 BW-related variables were generated, including observations at calving, nadir, planned start of mating (PSM), and first service, as well as days to nadir and the amount and rate of change between periods. The binary reproductive variables were cycling by PSM, mated in the first 21 d from PSM, pregnant to first service, and pregnant in the first 21, 42, and 84 d of the seasonal mating period. Generalized estimating equations were used to identify BCS and BW variables that significantly affected the probability of a successful reproductive outcome. After adjusting for the fixed effect of year of calving, parity (for cycling by PSM only), and the interval from calving to either first service or PSM, reproductive performance was found to be significantly affected by BW or BCS at key points, and by BCS and BW change during lactation. All reproductive response measures were negatively affected when BCS and BW measures indicated an increased severity and duration of the postpartum negative energy balance. In particular, cycling by PSM was positively associated with calving BCS, whereas pregnancy at 21, 42, and 84 d post-PSM were positively associated with nadir BCS and BW gain post-PSM, and negatively associated with BCS loss between calving and nadir. The results highlight the important role that BCS and BW loss has on reproductive performance, especially in seasonal-calving dairy systems because of the short period between calving and PSM. © American Dairy Science Association, 2007.
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