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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Prepartum Milking of Holstein Heifers:effects on Production, Reproduction, Edema, and Scc

Authors
item Schutz, M - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Kearney, J - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Eicher, Susan

Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 21, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The objective was to investigate the effects of parlor exposure and prepartum milking on postpartum production, reproduction, parturition, udder edema, and udder health. For 3 weeks prior to expected calving, parlor experienced (EXP) heifers entered the parlor without being milked, pre-milked heifers (PRE) were milked, and control (CTL) heifers remained in their stalls until calving. No differences were observed for calving ease, calf birth weights, or post-calving problems. Less udder edema was seen for PRE (44 cm2) than for EXP (28 cm2) or CTL (17 cm2). Compared to EXP and CTL, PRE heifers produced significantly more milk, fat, and lactose in early lactation, but not over the entire lactation. Daily SCS (sloughed off immune and cells in milk) was less for PRE heifers, and daily SCS was different for the first 2 weeks after calving. Days to first breeding were not different, but PRE heifers had fewer total breedings and days open. Lactation average SCS or mastitis incidence were not different. Prepartum milking was not detrimental to calving, production, or udder health, but rather provided beneficial effects on health near parturition and on reproductive performance. Therefore, pre-partum milking can be a useful management tool for dairymen.

Technical Abstract: Prepartum parlor experience and prepartum milking effect on postpartum production, reproduction, parturition, udder edema, and SCC were studied. Forty-eight first-calf heifers were assigned to control (CTL), parlor experience (EXP), or prepartum milking treatments (PRE). For 3 weeks prior to expected calving EXP heifers entered the parlor without being milked and PRE heifers were milked. At first milking, udder edema was approximated as the change in the area between teats before and after milking. Calving ease scores (1, easy to 5, severe), calf birth weights, and incidence of retained placenta were recorded. Milk weights and SCC were collected and measured for 14 days postpartum and monthly, thereafter. Mastitis incidence, days to first service, number of services, and days open were obtained from herd records. Calving ease, calf birth weights, or incidence of retained placenta were not different (P>.05). Change in udder area was larger (less edema, P< .05) for PRE (44 cm2) than for EXP (28 cm2) or CTL (17 cm2). Compared to EXP and CTL, PRE heifers produced more milk, fat, and lactose in early lactation (P<.05). Milk, fat, and protein yields were not different over the entire lactation (P>.05). Daily SCS was less for PRE heifers, and daily SCS was different for 2 weeks post-calving (P<.05). Days to first service were not different but PRE heifers had fewer total services and days open (P<.05). Lactation average SCS or mastitis incidence were not different (P>.05). Prepartum milking was not detrimental to calving, production, or udder health, but rather provided beneficial effects on health near parturition and on reproductive performance.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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