Interpretive Summary: Effect of voluntary waiting period on metabolism of dairy cows during different phases of the lactation
By: Eline E A Burgers, Roselinde M A Goselink, Rupert M Bruckmaier, Josef J Gross, Ruurd Jorritsma, Bas Kemp, Akke Kok, Ariette TM van Knegsel
Extending the voluntary waiting period (VWP) reduces the frequency of calvings. This may benefit cow health but includes the risk of fattening and low milk yield at the end of the lactation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the VWP on metabolism and body condition during different phases of the lactation and start of the next lactation. Moreover, individual cow characteristics in early lactation were used to predict milk production and body condition of cows after different VWP. An extended VWP did not affect milk production or metabolism of primiparous cows. Multiparous cows with an extended VWP had a greater plasma insulin concentration and a lower milk production around the end of the VWP and during pregnancy, and a greater body condition during pregnancy. A higher milk production and a lower body condition before successful insemination were associated with a higher milk production and a lower body condition at the end of the lactation. Therefore, selecting multiparous cows with a higher milk production and a lower body condition for an extended lactation may reduce the risk of fattening and low milk production at the end of the lactation, while still having the benefit of a reduced frequency of calvings.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.