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Growth trajectories of Holstein dairy cows

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2017

M. P. Coffey
Affiliation:
Sustainable Livestock Systems, SAC, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0PH, UK
J. Hickey
Affiliation:
Sustainable Livestock Systems, SAC, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0PH, UK
S. Brotherstone
Affiliation:
Sustainable Livestock Systems, SAC, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0PH, UK School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JT, UK
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All genetic selection in dairy cattle is applied to traits that are measured during the animal’s productive life, mostly those recorded during early productive life because genetic evaluations are best calculated from unbiased early data. Since body lipid is normally accumulated partly as a function of body protein accretion and in part as a function of degree of maturity (which is also related to protein content), it follows that selection for yield in relatively mature life, and concomitant alteration of body lipid profiles, may have altered early life growth profiles as well. If this is the case, parameters of early life growth may be used to predict later life events such as production and functional traits associated with the degree of maturity when these events occur. The objectives of this study were: 1) to model the growth of dairy cows of average and high genetic merit from birth to the end of third lactation and identify any differences in their growth curves.

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Theatre Presentations
Copyright
Copyright © The British Society of Animal Science 2005

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References

Coffey, M.P., Simm, G. and Brotherstone, S. 2002. Energy balance for the first three lactations of dairy cows estimated using energy balance. J. Dairy Sci. 42: 26692678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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