125 research outputs found

    Early lactation ratio of fat and protein percentage in milk is associated with health, milk production, and survival.

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    An observational study was conducted on 1,498 cows in 3 large Italian dairy farms. The objective of the study was to evaluate the prognostic value of early lactation fat-to-protein ratio in milk. In all 3 herds, an intensive herd health monitoring program was being practiced that included weekly visits and extensive data collection on health, reproduction, production, and culling. A milk sample was collected from all cows at approximately 7 d postpartum and the ratio of fat-to-protein percentage in this milk sample was measured. Animals with a fat-to-protein ratio in early lactation greater than 2.0 showed an increase in postpartum diseases such as retained placenta, left-displaced abomasums, metritis and clinical endometritis. We also observed a decrease in early lactation milk production but this was limited to cows in lactation 2 and higher when the fat-to-protein ratio was greater than 2.0 in the early postpartum milk sample. Finally, an increased risk of being culled from the herd was observed, with the risk of culling increasing with increasing fat-to-protein ratio in the early lactation milk sample. No effect of fat-to-protein ratio was found on the incidence of clinical mastitis in the 3 herds. From this study, we conclude that analyses of milk components in early postpartum (6-9 days in milk), particularly the ratio of fat-to-protein percentage, is a valuable indicator of lipo-mobilization and the negative energy balance status in postpartum cows. Because a single milk sample is sufficient to provide valuable information, we suggest that this is a valuable addition to herd health programs on dairy farms
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