An evaluation of detailed animal characteristics influencing the lactation production efficiency of spring-calving, pasture-based dairy cattle - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Dairy Science Year : 2023

An evaluation of detailed animal characteristics influencing the lactation production efficiency of spring-calving, pasture-based dairy cattle

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Abstract

Selection for feed efficiency, the ratio of output (e.g., milk yield) to feed intake, has traditionally been limited on commercial dairy farms by the necessity for detailed individual animal intake and performance data within large animal populations. The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the effects of individual animal characteristics (animal breed, genetic potential, milk production, body weight (BW), daily total dry matter intake (TDMI), and energy balance) on a cost-effective production efficiency parameter calculated as the annual fat and protein (milk solids) production per unit of mid-lactation BW (MSperBWlact). A total of 1,788 individual animal intake records measured at various stages of lactation (early, mid, and late lactation) from 207 Holstein-Friesian and 200 Jersey × Holstein-Friesian cows were used. The derived efficiency traits included daily kilograms of milk solids produced per 100 kg of BW (dMSperBWint) and daily kilograms of milk solids produced per kilogram of TDMI (dMSperTDMI). The TDMI per 100 kg of BW was also calculated (TDMI/BWint) at each stage of lactation. Animals were subsequently either ranked as the top 25% (Heff) or bottom 25% (Leff) based on their lactation production efficiency (MSperBWlact). Dairy cow breed significantly affected animal characteristics over the entire lactation and during specific periods of intake measurements. Jersey crossbred animals produced more milk, based on a lower TDMI, and achieved an increased intake per kilogram of BW. Similarly, Heff produced more milk over longer lactations, weighed less, were older, and achieved a higher TDMI compared with the Leff animals. Both Jersey × Holstein-Friesian and Heff cows achieved superior production efficiency due to lower maintenance energy requirements, and consequentially increased milk solids production per kilogram of BW and per kilogram of TDMI at all stages of lactation. Indeed, within breed, Heff animals weighed 20 kg less and produced 15% more milk solids over the total lactation than Leff. In addition, Heff achieved increased daily milk solids yield (+0.16 kg) and milk solids yield per kilogram of TDMI (+ 0.23 kg/kg DM) during intake measurement periods. Moreover, the strong and consistently positive correlations between MSperBWlact and detailed production efficiency traits (dMSperBWint, dMSperTDMI) reported here demonstrate that MSperBWlact is a robust measure that can be applied within commercial grazing dairy systems to increase the selection intensity for highly efficient animals.
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Dates and versions

hal-03901379 , version 1 (15-12-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

Identifiers

Cite

S.H. Evers, L. Delaby, K.M. Pierce, B. Mccarthy, E.L. Coffey, et al.. An evaluation of detailed animal characteristics influencing the lactation production efficiency of spring-calving, pasture-based dairy cattle. Journal of Dairy Science, In press, ⟨10.3168/jds.2022-21815⟩. ⟨hal-03901379⟩

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