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Incidence and risk factors for reproductive disorders in organic certified dairies.

  • Manríquez, D1
  • Velez, J2
  • Pinedo, P J3
  • 1 Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1171.
  • 2 Aurora Organic Farms, Platteville, CO 80651.
  • 3 Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1171. Electronic address: [email protected]
Published Article
Journal of Dairy Science
American Dairy Science Association
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2020
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2020-18592
PMID: 32896412


The objective was to determine the lactational incidence risks of reproductive disorders (RD) including dystocia (DYS), retained fetal membranes (RFM), puerperal metritis (PM), clinical endometritis (CE), pyometra (PYO), late pregnancy loss (LPL), and culling due to reproductive reasons (CRR) in large organic certified dairies with predominant use of Holstein genetics. In addition, potential risk factors for RD, including parity category, milk yield in the previous lactation, season of dry-off, access to grazing at dry-off, length of the dry period (DPL), length of the close-up period (CUPL), calculated gestation length (CGL), season of calving, access to grazing at calving, concurrent health conditions, and total number of artificial inseminations were analyzed. A retrospective study was performed using information from 8 organic certified herds located in northern Colorado and west Texas, ranging from 900 to 6,000 milking cows. Cow information consisted of finalized lactations starting with calvings occurring between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2018. Data were analyzed using time-to-event analyses and multivariable logistic regression. Clinical endometritis had the greatest lactational incidence risk (incidence risk = 10.1%; 95% CI = 9.8-10.3%), followed by DYS (8.8%; 8.5-9.1%), PM (4.9%; 4.7-5.1%), PYO (4.0%; 3.8-4.1%), LPL (3.6%; 3.4-3.7%), and RFM (2.0%; 1.8-2.1%). The incidence risk of CRR was 7.5% (7.3-8.7%), representing 29.1% (28.4-30.0%) of all culling reasons. Median time from calving to diagnosis of PM, CE, PYO, and LPL were 6, 23, 111, and 228 d, respectively. Median time for CRR was 391 d. The main risk factors for RD were DPL, CGL, and CUPL. Season of dry-off was a risk factor for RFM, PM, CE, LPL, and PYO. Short DPL (<30 d) was associated with increased odds (95% CI) of RFM [2.1 (1.6-2.7)], PM [1.4 (1.2-1.7)], and LPL [2.5 (1.5-4.2)]. Shortened CGL (<270 d) increased the odds of DYS [1.5 (1.3-1.8)], RFM [3.2 (2.4-4.1)], and PM [2.4 (1.7-3.3)], whereas extended CGL (>285 d) increased the odds of DYS [1.5 (1.4-1.7)], PM [1.5 (1.2-2.0)], CE [1.5 (1.1-2.0)], and CRR [1.2 (1.10-1.4)]. Shortened CUPL was associated with increased odds of all the RD. Cows spending less than 7 d in the close-up groups had greater odds of DYS [1.4 (1.1-1.8)], RFM [2.1 (1.8-2.4)], PM [1.9 (1.6-2.1)], PYO [1.5 (1.2-1.8)], LPL [2 (1.7-2.3)], and CRR [1.4 (1.04-1.8)] compared with cows spending more than 14 d in the close-up group. Season of calving was associated with the odds of PM [summer = 1.13 (1.01-1.2)], PYO [summer = 1.7 (1.1-2.5)], and LPL ([fall = 0.8 (0.6-0.96)] compared with winter calving. Other risk factors affecting RD were parity number, total number of artificial inseminations, and concurrent health conditions. Overall, lactational incidence risks of reproductive diseases were comparable with those reported in conventional herds. The identified risk factors for RD open opportunities for interventions, especially focused in precalving management, estimation of due dates, and closer monitoring of pregnancies from natural services in large organic certified dairy herds. The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. and Fass Inc. on behalf of the American Dairy Science Association®. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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