• Phenotypic relationships between milk protein percentage and reproductive performance in three strains of Holstein Friesian cows in Ireland

      Yang, L; Lopez-Villalobos, N; Berry, Donagh; Parkinson, T (2021-04-11)
      The relationship between milk protein percentage and fertility in seasonal calving, dairy cattle in Ireland was quantified using a total of 584 lactation records, collected over a five-year period from experiments comparing three strains of Holstein-Friesian cows under three different feeding systems. Logistic regression analyses showed that increased protein percentage during early lactation was positively associated with the probability of a cow becoming pregnant to its first service (P <0.05). Similarly, protein percentage during the lactation had a positive (P <0.01) association with overall pregnancy rate. The results suggest that negative energy balance in early lactation or during the whole lactation causes a shortage of glucose to the udder, this restricts the synthesis of milk protein in the udder and causes a lower milk protein percentage. During negative energy balance there is also a concurrent reduction of IGF-І, LH and oestradiol secretion, which consequently delay ovarian follicular development, and hence impairs reproductive performance. In conclusion, cows with higher milk protein percentage during early lactation have a greater likelihood of becoming pregnant earlier in the breeding season, and have a higher conception rate.
    • Relationships Among Milk Yield, Body Condition, Cow Weight, and Reproduction in Spring-Calved Holstein-Friesians

      Buckley, Frank; O'Sullivan, K.; Mee, John F; Evans, R.D.; Dillon, Pat; Allied Irish Bank; Holstein UK and Ireland; National AI Co-Ops; Irish Dairy Devy (Elsevier, 2003-07)
      Relationships among milk production, body condition score (BCS), body weight (BW), and reproduction were studied using logistic regression on data from 6433 spring-calving Holstein-Friesian dairy cows in 74 commercial herds. Multivariate models were adjusted for herd, breeding value for milk yield, proportion of Holstein-Friesian genes, lactation number, calving period, and degree of calving assistance. Significant associations between reproductive measures and components of energy balance were identified. Higher 200-d milk protein content and higher protein-to-fat ratio at start of breeding were associated with increased likelihood of submission for breeding in the first 21 d of the breeding season (SR21). High 100-d cumulative milk yield as a proportion of estimated 305-d milk yield (low persistency) was associated with a lower likelihood of pregnancy to first service (PREG1), whereas cows reaching peak milk yields earlier tended to have higher PREG1. Cows that reached nadir milk protein content relatively late in lactation had lower PREG1. Milk yield at first service and 305-d milk protein content were positively associated with the likelihood of pregnancy after 42 d of breeding (PR42). Higher 305-d milk lactose content was associated with increased PREG1 and PR42. Mean BCS at 60 to 100 d of lactation was positively associated with both SR21 and PR42, whereas nadir BCS was positively associated with PREG1. Cows with precalving BCS > 3.0 that also lost > 0.5 BCS unit by first service had lower PR42. More BW gain for 90 d after start of breeding was associated with higher SR21 and PREG1; more BW gain for 90 d after first service was associated with higher PR42. Milk protein and lactose content, BCS, and BW changes are important tools to identify cows at risk of poor reproduction.