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Journal Articles Journal of Dairy Science Year : 2016

Toward improved postpartum cyclicity of primiparous dairy cows: Effects of genetic merit for production traits under contrasting feeding systems

Abstract

Milk genetic merit is known to affect commencement of luteal activity (C-LA) in dairy cows. This effect is considered to be due to energy exported in milk production. The present study aimed to identify and quantify the effects of genetic characteristics [breed and estimated breeding value (EBV) for milk yield and fat and protein contents] and feeding system on C-LA of primiparous cows. From 2006 to 2013, an experiment was conducted on 97 primiparous dairy (Holstein) and 97 primiparous dual-purpose (Normande) cows. Within breed, cows were classified into 2 groups: cows with high EBV for milk yield were included in a "milk group" and those with high EBV for fat and protein contents were included in a "content group." Within breed, exported energy in milk and body weight (BW) loss were similar for both genetic groups. Two grazing-based strategies were used, a high feeding system (maize silage in winter and grazing plus concentrate) and a low feeding system (grass silage in winter and grazing with no concentrate). Interval from calving to C-LA was studied performing survival analyses. Milk progesterone profile, milk yield, and body condition were analyzed using χ2-test and analysis of covariance. Holstein cows produced more milk (+1,810 kg in the high feeding system and +1,120 kg in the low feeding system) and lost more BW from wk 1 to 14 of lactation (-1.4 kg/wk) than Normande cows, whereas Normande cows had earlier C-LA than Holstein cows. Within breed, cows in the content group had earlier C-LA (associated hazard ratio = 2.0) than cows in the milk group. Body weight at calving and loss from wk 1 to 14 of lactation tended to be associated with later C-LA. Cows in the high feeding system produced more milk (+2,040 kg for the Holstein cows and +1,350 kg for Normande cows) and lost less BW from wk 1 to 14 of lactation (+3.8 kg/wk) than cows in the low feeding system. No effect of feeding system or milk yield was observed on C-LA. Prolonged luteal phases were frequent (18% of cows) and were not associated with either breed or genetic group. Ovarian cycles were longer for Holstein than for Normande cows (+1.7 d) because of a longer luteal phase and a longer interluteal interval. Results of the study could be useful to establish strategies to manage declining reproductive performances at genetic and environmental levels. This study showed that cows with a genetic predisposition to export milk energy through fat and protein contents had earlier C-LA than predisposed to export milk energy through yield.

Dates and versions

hal-01455888 , version 1 (03-02-2017)

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Nicolas Bedere, Luc Delaby, Vincent Ducrocq, Ségolène Colette, Catherine Disenhaus. Toward improved postpartum cyclicity of primiparous dairy cows: Effects of genetic merit for production traits under contrasting feeding systems. Journal of Dairy Science, 2016, 99 (2), pp.1266-1276. ⟨10.3168/jds.2015-9843⟩. ⟨hal-01455888⟩
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