Association between early postpartum rumination time and peak milk yield in dairy cows

Mateus Peiter, Hannah N. Phillips, Marcia I. Endres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Limited information is available on the relationship between rumination time (RT) in the early postpartum period and milk production later in lactation. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to (1) investigate the association of change in RT and average RT during the immediate postpartum period with peak milk yield (PMY) in dairy cows, and (2) determine the best model based on days in milk (DIM) to evaluate this association. Cows from 33 free-flow automatic milking system farms were included in this study, where retrospective milk production and RT data were collected for 12 mo. Cows were categorized by parity number into parity 1 (P1, n = 1,538), parity 2 (P2, n = 1,354), or parity ≥3 (P3+, n = 1,770). For each cow, PMY was identified as the highest daily milk yield up to 180 DIM for P1 and 120 DIM for P2 and P3+ cows. Five change in RT variables and 5 average RT variables were created corresponding to the first 2 to 6 DIM. Change in RT variables were the slope coefficients for change in RT/d related to DIM = 1 extracted from simple linear regressions, and average RT variables were the arithmetic mean RT. Five models analyzing PMY and corresponding variables calculated over the first 2 to 6 DIM had fixed effects of average RT, change in RT, parity, average RT × parity interaction, change in RT × parity interaction, and a random intercept for farm. Peak milk yield occurred at (median) 75, 44, and 46 DIM for P1, P2, and P3+, respectively. Overall PMY was (mean ± standard deviation) 54 ± 11 kg and it increased as parity increased. A positive association was found between change in RT and PMY, and average RT and PMY for P2 and P3+ cows in all 5 models corresponding to the first 2 to 6 DIM, indicating that greater average RT and quicker increase in RT after calving are associated with greater PMY for multiparous cows. Although the model including all 6 DIM had the greatest accuracy, results indicated that rumination data collected over the first 2 DIM may also provide adequate information for the association of average RT and change in RT with PMY in P2 and P3+ cows. For each 100 min/d increase in change in RT over the first 6 DIM, PMY increased by 4.3 (95% confidence interval: 2.2–6.3) and 4.8 (95% confidence interval: 3.2–6.5) kg for P2 and P3+ cows, respectively. Peak milk yield increased by 2.3 (95% CI: 1.7–2.8) and 2.2 (95% confidence interval: 1.7–2.6) kg for each 100 min increase in average RT over the first 6 DIM for P2 and P3+ cows, respectively. No association was observed between rumination behaviors and PMY for P1 cows. Results from this study indicate that the length of time for multiparous cows to achieve a stable RT in the early postpartum period combined with average RT during the same period may be useful in predicting their overall lactation milk production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5898-5908
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume104
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all the dairy farmers who allowed us to have access to their data. We thank Lely (Lely Industries, Maassluis, the Netherlands) for technical help with data collection from the AMS software. In addition, we thank Form-A-Feed (Brant Groen, Stewart, MN) for partial financial support of on-farm data collection, and Emily Irwin (Form-A-Feed intern) for visiting the farms to collect the data. Mateus Peiter was partially supported by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (University of Minnesota, St. Paul) MnDRIVE Graduate Student Professional Development Award and the Hueg-Harrison Fellowship, and also the John Brandt Memorial Fund Scholarship (Land O'Lakes Foundation, Land O'Lakes Inc. St. Paul, MN). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Funding Information:
We thank all the dairy farmers who allowed us to have access to their data. We thank Lely (Lely Industries, Maassluis, the Netherlands) for technical help with data collection from the AMS software. In addition, we thank Form-A-Feed (Brant Groen, Stewart, MN) for partial financial support of on-farm data collection, and Emily Irwin (Form-A-Feed intern) for visiting the farms to collect the data. Mateus Peiter was partially supported by the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (University of Minnesota, St. Paul) MnDRIVE Graduate Student Professional Development Award and the Hueg-Harrison Fellowship, and also the John Brandt Memorial Fund Scholarship (Land O'Lakes Foundation, Land O'Lakes Inc., St. Paul, MN). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Dairy Science Association

Keywords

  • automatic milking system
  • parity
  • peak milk yield
  • rumination

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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