Effect of feeding regime, growth intensity and age at first insemination on performances and longevity of Holstein heifers born during autumn

Abstract : An experiment was performed on 113 heifers born during three successive autumns (1987, 1988, and 1989) and aimed to study the effect of rearing strategy on performances and longevity. From 4-12 mo of age, heifers were grazing (G) or fed indoors with two levels of a corn-silage based diet (CS) with a high (CSH) or low (CSL) level concentrate. Age at first calving was 24 months (AFC24), but, because of seasonal calving management, some animals calved at 36 months of age (AFC36). From 4-12 mo of age, average daily weight gain (ADG) of G, CSL and CSH heifers was 874, 736 and 890 g/d, respectively. G and CSH heifers had the same ADC from 4-12 mo of age, whereas G and CSL heifers had the same ADG from 4 mo of age until puberty. Puberty was detected for 106 heifers, occurring at 269 (SD = +/- 28) d of age at a weight of 286 (+/- 36) kg. On average, CSH heifers were 28 d younger at puberty (P<0.001). In AFC24 heifers, fertility after one insemination was higher for CS heifers than for G heifers (77 and 55%, respectively). When heifers were adults, it corresponded to 77 and 96%, respectively. During their 1st lactation, AFC24 (G and CSL) heifers tended to have a higher milk peak than CSH heifers (27.3, 28.8 and 24.7 kg/d, respectively). On average, each cow completed 2.64 lactations (range=0-7), but this parameter varied significantly (P<0.05): 2.81 (G), 2.67 (CSL), 2.30 (CSH). Productive life was 852 d long, with significant differences between groups (945, 890 and 663 d for G, CSL and CSH groups. respectively). Culling rate during the first four lactations was around 38%. A deleterious effect of an excessive growth rate between 120 and 300 d, corresponding to body weight varying between 150 and 260 kg, was noted. In practice, this indicates that growth rates should be controlled before puberty, but a high growth rate is possible between puberty and first insemination without major problems.
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Livestock Science, Elsevier, 2009, 124 (1-3), pp.72-81. 〈10.1016/j.livsci.2008.12.011〉
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Soumis le : vendredi 7 septembre 2012 - 16:11:18
Dernière modification le : mercredi 21 mars 2018 - 16:08:10

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Yannick Le Cozler, J.L. Peyraud, J. L. Troccon. Effect of feeding regime, growth intensity and age at first insemination on performances and longevity of Holstein heifers born during autumn. Livestock Science, Elsevier, 2009, 124 (1-3), pp.72-81. 〈10.1016/j.livsci.2008.12.011〉. 〈hal-00730139〉

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