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Effects of increasing days of exposure to prepartum transition diets on reproduction and health in dairy cows

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Objective 

To evaluate the effect of the number of days exposure to a prepartum transition diet on reproduction and health in dairy cows. Design 

A prospective cohort study. Procedures 

We enrolled 1008 dairy cows from three herds to examine the effects on reproduction and health of increased days exposure to prepartum transition diets that included ryegrass pasture, ryegrass silage, cereal hay, grain, by-products, oilseed meals, BioChlor┬«, rumen modifiers, minerals and vitamins. Diets provided 9.9 MJ metabolisable energy per kg dry matter (DM), a metabolisable protein balance of 286 g/day and a dietary cation anion difference of −150 meq/kg DM. Statistical models controlled for herd, calving day, age and gestation period. Results 

In two of the three herds increased days exposure to prepartum transition diets increased the hazards of submission for breeding, conception and clinical mastitis, and decreased the hazard of cow removal. The odds of pregnancy by 6 and 21 weeks after the mating start date tended to increase with increasing days of exposure to prepartum transition diets. Conclusions 

Increasing exposure to a prepartum transition diet improved the calving to conception interval, tended to improve the odds of pregnancy and reduced the risk of culling of cattle, but increased the hazard of clinical mastitis.
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Keywords: BioChlor; dairy cattle; dietary cation anion difference (DCAD); nutrition; reproduction; transition diets

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia 2: Epicentre, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Publication date: 01 March 2010

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