Effect of dry period length on reproduction, health and milk production in the subsequent lactation of Holstein cows

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Theriogenology Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef 62511, Egypt.


A retrospective study was employed to investigate the effect of dry period length on reproduction, incidence of reproductive and metabolic disorders and milk production in Holstein cows belonging to a commercial dairy. Over a 5 year period (2000- 2005), data about reproductive performance, postpartum and metabolic disorders were collected on 1914 multiparous Holstein cows. Out of the obtained data production performance were available only for 793 cows. According to the obtained data the dry period was categorized into 10 groups of different lengths. Reproductive performances including the interval to 1st service, service period, number of inseminations per conception, day’s open, calving interval and percentage of pregnant cows within 100 days in milking (DIM) were recorded as a function of dry period length. The incidence of postpartum reproductive and metabolic disorders included retained fetal membranes (RFM), endometritis, cystic ovarian disease (COD), mastitis, milk fever (MF), ketosis and abomasal displacement were recorded as a function of dry period length. Milk production was also studied in relation to dry period length. Statistical analysis of the obtained data was performed.
The most important notifiable results were: cows with dry period less than 28 days showed the best reproductive performance and the highest incidence of abomasal displacement among all groups. In general, the incidence of MF and RFM were higher in short dry period cows, while the incidence of ketosis was higher in cows with long dry period length. A highly significant difference was recorded between daily milk yield of cows with dry period less than 64 days (27.23 kg) and those of cows with dry period > 64 days (25.20 kg).
Finally, it is recommended to keep the dry period of 40-60 day lengths to obtain optimum reproduction, health and production of Holstein cows.


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