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Management practices associated with reproductive performance in Holstein cows on large commercial dairy farms

  • I. Fodor (a1), Zs. Abonyi-Tóth (a2) and L. Ózsvári (a1)

As a result of the increase in herd size and the intensification of production, the complexity of reproductive management has been growing in dairy herds. The aim of our study was to examine the associations of management practices and reproductive performance in Holstein cows on large commercial dairy farms. Management practices applied to cows were surveyed between 22 May and 6 November 2015 in 34 large Holstein-Friesian dairy herds in Hungary. Individual data of 23 784 cows that calved between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2014 in the surveyed herds were gathered. Associations between the management practices and the reproductive parameters were analyzed by mixed effects models. Regarding heat abatement we found that ventilation with sprinklers was associated with the shortest breeding interval (P<0.01), the shortest calving to conception interval (P<0.01), and the highest odds of being pregnant by 200 days in milk (P<0.01). Solely ventilation showed similar (P>0.05) results to lack of heat stress protection. It was also revealed, that lack of a well-established voluntary waiting period (VWP) or a VWP shorter than 50 days was associated with less days to first service (P<0.01), shorter breeding interval (P<0.01) and calving to conception interval (P<0.05), as well as higher odds of carrying a calf by 200 days in milk (P<0.01) compared with those using a VWP of at least 50 days. Those farms that applied transrectal ultrasonography were more likely to use ventilation with sprinklers (P<0.05), hormonal synchronization (P<0.01) and to perform early pregnancy diagnosis followed by pregnancy recheck (P<0.05). The application of transrectal ultrasonography with one of the aforementioned practices was associated with reduced days to first service (P<0.05), shorter breeding interval (P<0.05) and higher odds of pregnancy at 200 days in milk (P<0.05). Our study highlights the management practices most closely related to improved reproductive performance, which are, therefore, suggested to be applied on dairy farms, considering the local circumstances of the individual farms.

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  • ISSN: 1751-7311
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