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Body condition score and body weight effects on dystocia and stillbirths and consequent effects on postcalving performance

Berry, DP, Lee, JM, Macdonald, KA and Roche, JR 2007 , 'Body condition score and body weight effects on dystocia and stillbirths and consequent effects on postcalving performance' , Journal of Dairy Science, vol. 90, no. 9 , pp. 4201-4211 , doi:

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The objective of this study was to quantify the effect
of periparturient body condition score (BCS) and body
weight (BW) related traits on the incidence of calving
dystocia and stillbirths, and to determine any consequent
effect of dystocia and stillbirths on BCS, BW,
milk production, udder health, and fertility in grazing
Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Up to 2,384 lactation records
with data on calving dystocia or stillbirths were
available from one research herd across 15 yr. Mixed
models and generalized estimating equations were used
to quantify all effects. Body condition score or BW 8 wk
precalving or at calving, or change precalving did not
significantly affect the odds of a difficult calving or stillbirth.
Cows that experienced dystocia lost, on average,
more BCS and BW between calving and nadir and had
significantly reduced nadir BCS and BW. Incidence of
stillbirths did not affect BCS in early lactation, although
BW loss postpartum was greater following a
stillbirth. A dystocia or stillbirth event was associated
with reduced 60-d milk yield (42 and 52 kg less milk
produced following a difficult calving or a stillbirth,
respectively). The effect of stillbirth on milk yield was
independent of dystocia. Cows that experienced dystocia
had reduced milk concentration of fat, protein,
and lactose, whereas average somatic cell score (natural
logarithm of somatic cell count) in the first 60-d postpartum
was elevated. There was no significant effect of
dystocia or stillbirth on clinical mastitis, but pregnancy
rates to first service and throughout the 12-wk breeding
season were compromised in cows that had experienced
difficulty at calving. The significance of the effects of
stillbirth on somatic cell score and reduced fertility were
mediated through its association with dystocia. In conclusion,
periparturient BCS and BW within the range
observed in the current study did not significantly affect incidence of dystocia and stillbirth, but these events
negatively affected cow performance in early lactation.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Berry, DP and Lee, JM and Macdonald, KA and Roche, JR
Keywords: body condition score, body weight, dystocia and stillbirth, reproduction
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Dairy Science
Publisher: American Dairy Science Association
ISSN: 0022-0302
DOI / ID Number:
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