Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The effect of heifer rearing regime on milk yield and composition during the first lactation

  • A.F. Carson (a1), L.E.R. Dawson (a1) and F.J. Gordon (a1)

Abstract

One hundred and thirteen Holstein Friesian heifers (PIN (95) £88 s.d. 11.1) were used in a study to determine the effect of rearing regime, in terms of diet offered and target calving weight, on milk production in high genetic merit heifers. Eighty of the heifers were supplied from 11 commercial farms, the remainder were supplied from the herd at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland. The heifers commenced the experiment at 7 weeks of age when they were allocated on the basis of source, live weight and genetic merit to one of four rearing regimes. The target weights at calving were 540 kg (Treatment 1) and 620 kg (treatments 2, 3 and 4). Treatments 1 heifers were offered grass silage-based diets during the winter and grass–based diets during the summer. Treatment 2 heifers were offered the same forage base along with additional concentrate supplementation. Treatment 3 heifers were offered a straw/concentrate diet during the winter and grass-based diets during the summer. Treatment 4 heifers received the same diets as treatment 3, apart from the first summer period when they were housed and offered a straw/concentrate diet. The heifers were mated at 14 months of age and were returned to the 11 farms one month prior to calving. Heifers reared on treatment 1 weighed less had a lower withers height (P<0.001) and were of a lower condition score (P<0.001) before calving than heifers reared on the other treatments. During early lactation (3 months post-calving) heifers reared on treatment 1 lost less weight and condition score than the heifers reared on treatments 2, 3 and 4. Over the winter housing period (mean 140 days) the average milk yield was lower for heifers reared on treatment 1 compared with heifers reared on treatments 2 (P<0.05), 3 (P=0.08) and 4 (P<0.05). Milk protein content was higher in animals reared on treatment 1 compared with treatment 2 (P<0.01), 3 (P<0.05) and 4 (P=0.12). Overall milk fat plus protein yield was lower for heifers reared on treatment 1 compared with treatments 2 (P<0.05), 3 (P=0.06) and 4 (P<0.05).

Copyright

References

Hide All
Agricultural and Food Research Council (AFRC). 1993. Energy and Protein Requirements of Ruminants. An advisory manual prepared by the AFRC Technical Committee on Responses to Nutrients. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxford.
Amir, S. and Kali, J. 1974. Influence of plane of nutrition of the dairy heifer on growth and performance after calving. Dairy Science Handbook 7: 183190.
Broster, W.H. and Broster, V.J. 1998. Body score of dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Research 65: 155173.
Carson, A.F., Wylie, A.R.G., McEvoy, J.D.G., McCoy, M. and Dawson, L.E.R. 2000. The effects of plane of nutrition and diet type on metabolic hormone concentrations, growth and milk production in high genetic merit dairy herd replacements. Animal Science 70: 349362.
Genstat. 1993. Genstat 5 Release 3 Reference Manual. Oxford Science Publications, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Hoffman, P.C. 1997. Optimum body size of Holstein replacement heifers. Journal of Animal Science 75: 836845.
Keown, J.F. and Everett, R.W. 1986. Effect of days carried calf, days dry, and weight of first calf heifers on yield. Journal of Dairy Science 69: 18911896.
Little, W. and Harrison, R.D. 1981. Effects of different rates of liveweight gain during rearing on the performance of Friesian heifers in their first lactation. Animal Production 32: 362 (abstract).
Manson, F.J. and Leaver, J.D. 1988. The influence of concentrate amount on locomotion and clinical lameness in dairy cattle. Animal Production 47: 185190.
Mayne, C.S. and Gordon, F.J. 1995. Implications of genotype x nutrition interactions for efficiency of milk production systems. In Breeding and feeding the high genetic dairy cow. Occasional Publication No. 19 - British Society of Animal Science, (ed Lawrence, T.L.J., Gordon, F.J. and Carson, A.) pp. 6777.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF). 1982. Rearing autumn born Friesian heifers to calve at two years. Agricultural Development and Advisory Service Booklet 2379. MAFF, Alnwick, Northumberland.
Rutter, L.A. and Randel, R.D. 1984. Postpartum nutrient intake and body condition: effect on pituitary function and onset of oestrus in beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science 58: 265274.
Sejrsen, K. and Foldager, J. 1992. Mammary growth and milk production capacity of replacement heifers in relation to diet energy concentration and plasma hormone levels. Acta Agriculture Scandinavica Section A, Animal Science 42: 99105.
Sejrsen, K. and Purup, S. 1997. Influence of prepubertal feeding on milk yield potential of dairy heifers: A review. Journal of Dairy Science 75: 828835.
Steen, R.W.J. 1991. The effect of level of protein supplementation on the performance and carcass composition of young bulls given grass silage ad libitum . Animal Production 52: 465475.
Valentine, S.C., Dobos, R.C., Lewis, P.A., Bartsch, B.D. and Wickes, R.B. 1987. Effect of liveweight gain before or during pregnancy on mammary development and subsequent milk production of Australian Holstein-Friesian heifers. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 27: 195204.
Van Amburgh, M.E., Galton, D.M., Bauman, D.E., Everett, R.W., Fox, D.G., Chase, L.E. and Erb, H.N. 1998. Effects of three prepubertal body growth rates on performance of Holstein heifers during first lactation. Journal of Dairy Science 81: 527538.
Waldo, D.R., Capuco, A.V. and Rexroad, C.E. 1998. Milk production of Holstein heifers fed either alfalfa or corn silage diets at two rates of gain. Journal of Dairy Science 81: 756764.

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed