Submitted to: Journal of Dairy Science
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Recent studies have looked at the effects of prepartum milking on heifers at time of calving but have not considered effects of prepartum milking on production, reproduction, and udder health over the entire lactation. The objective of this project was to investigate effects of parlor exposure and pre-milking on behavior, production, and health parameters. Effects on Mature Equivalent 305d records of milk (MEM), fat (MEF) and protein (MEP), days to first service, days open, incidence of mastitis, and lactation average SCS are reported here. Forty-eight first-calf heifers, blocked by expected calving date, were randomly assigned to control (CTL), parlor exposure (EXP), or pre-milk (PRE) treatments. EXP heifers were taken through the parlor without milking and PRE heifers were milked for three weeks prior to expected calving. MEM, MEF, MEP and lactation average SCS were obtained from DHIA records. Days to first service, number of services, and days open were obtained from herd records. Mastitis incidence was obtained from herd health recordings. MEM, MEF, and MEP were not significant (P>0.05). Treatment did not effect days to first service but PRE heifers had significantly fewer (P<0.05) total services and days open. Earlier return to normal levels of haptoglobin for PRE reported in previous work may be related to quicker return to reproductive health. Treatment effects were not significant (P>0.05) for lactation average SCS or mastitis incidence. Results indicate no detrimental effects of prepartum milking on production and udder health and may indicate beneficial effects on reproductive performance.