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Postpartum body condition score and results from the first test day milk as predictors of disease, fertility, yield, and culling in commercial dairy herds.

  • Heuer, C
  • Schukken, Y H
  • Dobbelaar, P
Published Article
Journal of dairy science
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1999
PMID: 10068951


The study used field data from a regular herd health service to investigate the relationships between body condition scores or first test day milk data and disease incidence, milk yield, fertility, and culling. Path model analysis with adjustment for time at risk was applied to delineate the time sequence of events. Milk fever occurred more often in fat cows, and endometritis occurred between calving and 20 d of lactation more often in thin cows. Fat cows were less likely to conceive at first service than were cows in normal condition. Fat body condition postpartum, higher first test day milk yield, and a fat to protein ratio of > 1.5 increased body condition loss. Fat or thin condition or condition loss was not related to other lactation diseases, fertility parameters, milk yield, or culling. First test day milk yield was 1.3 kg higher after milk fever and was 7.1 kg lower after displaced abomasum. Higher first test day milk yield directly increased the risk of ovarian cyst and lameness, increased 100-d milk yield, and reduced the risk of culling and indirectly decreased reproductive performance. Cows with a fat to protein ratio of > 1.5 had higher risks for ketosis, displaced abomasum, ovarian cyst, lameness, and mastitis. Those cows produced more milk but showed poor reproductive performance. Given this type of herd health data, we concluded that the first test day milk yield and the fat to protein ratio were more reliable indicators of disease, fertility, and milk yield than was body condition score or loss of body condition score.

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