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Effects of underfeeding during the second gestation of Holstein-Friesian heifers. 2. Residual effects on second lactation performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2021

J.M. Moorby
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth SY23 3EB, UK
R.J. Dewhurst
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Plas Gogerddan, Aberystwyth SY23 3EB, UK
W.J. Fisher
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Trawsgoed Research Farm, Trawsgoed SY23 4LL, UK
D.W.R. Davies
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, Trawsgoed Research Farm, Trawsgoed SY23 4LL, UK
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Extract

Previous work has shown that dry period protein feeding can have important residual effects on the subsequent lactational performance in dairy cows (Moorby et al., 1996), although the results have been variable. This variability may be due to an animals nutrient requirements during late lactation and its ability to compensate during the dry period for previously inadequate supplies. This experiment was designed to investigate the effects of heifer age and level of concentrate offered during the second half of the first lactation on the second lactation performance. The size of the Longissimus dorsi was monitored as a marker of skeletal muscle use for lactation.

Thirty-eight Holstein-Friesian heifers were treated as described by Dewhurst et al. (1997). Briefly, animals were divided into 4 treatment groups differing in age at first calving (2 or 3 years old) and level of concentrate feeding for the last 18-20 weeks of their first lactation (2 kg/d, ‘L’, or 7 kg/d, ‘H’; n=11, 11, 9 and 7 for treatments 2L, 2H, 3L and 3H respectively). Six weeks before predicted calving date, animals were dried off and offered a relatively low quality diet of ad libitum access to a grass silage:straw mix (40:60 on a DM basis), designed to offer them little chance to compensate for previous differences in diet. After calving, animals were offered a diet of ad libitum access to grass silage plus 8 kg/d concentrate to day 120 of lactation, and 5 kg/d thereafter. Live weight was recorded weekly. After calving, milk yields were recorded daily, and milk samples taken weekly, to week 20 of lactation.

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Copyright
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1997

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References

Dewhurst, R.J., Moorby, J.M., Davies, D.W.R. and Fisher, W.J. 1997. Effects of underfeeding during the second gestation of Holstein-Friesian heifers. 1. Direct effect on lactation performance over the final 5 months of lactation. (This meeting.)Google Scholar
Dhanoa, M.S. 1981. A note on an alternative form of the lactation model of Wood. Animal Production 32: 349351.Google Scholar
Moorby, J.M., Dewhurst, R.J. and Marsden, S. 1996. Effect of increasing digestible undegraded protein supply to dairy cows in late gestation on the yield and composition of milk during the subsequent lactation. Animal Science 63: 201213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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Effects of underfeeding during the second gestation of Holstein-Friesian heifers. 2. Residual effects on second lactation performance
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