Relationship between the pre- and postpartum body condition scores and periparturient indices and fertility in high-yielding dairy cows

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Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between body condition score (BCS) determined on the dry-off day, calving day, and in the first month of lactation, its changes during the dry period and early lactation, and periparturient indices and fertility in high-producing dairy cows. Material and Methods: The experiment was conducted in two herds: A and B, located in Western Poland. The studies were conducted on 116 and 108 Polish Holstein-Friesian dairy cows respectively, with an average milk yield of >10 000 kg/305-day lactation. The experiment included the dry period (-56 d to the calving day), the calving day, and early lactation (from +1 to +56 d). The experimental factor was BCS (0 to 5-point scale). The BCS was performed by one person on day -56, on parturition day (in the first 12 h after calving) and on day 30 of lactation. Results: A decrease in BCS (≥-0.25) in herd A during the dry period accelerated the planned calving period by 7.3 d. In the group of cows with BCS <3.25 on the dry-off day, the lowest artificial insemination index (1.80), the shortest period of insemination services (25 d), and days open (87 d) were recorded. Moreover, cows with BCS < 3.25 at calving had the shortest days open (91 d). BCS >3.50 in the first month of lactation (30 d) resulted in the extension of uterine involution period (56 d). Improvement of BCS during the dry period shortened the anoestrus (60 d) in herd A and the period of insemination service (60 d) in herd B. However, in this group (IM BCS ≥ 0.25) of cows the day of the highest artificial insemination index (2.50) in herd B was analysed. Conclusion: The body condition on the dry-off day and at calving, as well as its deterioration in the first month of lactation, have a considerable effect on fertility indices in dairy cows, thus confirming the advisability of its regular monitoring during routine operations connected with the management of a dairy cattle herd.

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