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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Short Communication

Year: 2019

Author(s): Zentrich, E; Iwersen, M; Wiedrich, MC; Drillich, M; Klein-Jöbstl, D

Title: Short communication: Effect of barn climate and management-related factors on bovine colostrum quality.

Source: J Dairy Sci. 2019; 102(8):7453-7458

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Drillich Marc
Iwersen Michael
Klein-Jöbstl Daniela

Vetmed Research Units
University Clinic for Ruminants, Clinical Unit of Herd Management in ruminants

Several factors have been reported to influence colostrum quality (immunoglobulin concentration). To date, knowledge of the influence of climatic factors in association with other potential influencing factors on colostrum quality is scarce. Associated influential factors are parity, body condition score, length of dry period, ration fed ante partum (AP), β-hydroxybutyrate postpartum (PP), milk yield, milk fat and protein, as well as somatic cell counts from previous and current lactation. The objective of the present study was to examine the effect of barn climate and the aforementioned factors on colostrum quality. Data were collected from 1,381 multiparous Holstein Friesian cows kept on one dairy farm over a period of one year (August 2014 to August 2015). Colostrum was harvested on farm within 1 h PP. The quantity and quality of first colostrum (estimated by Brix refractometry) were recorded for each cow. Additional data recorded were parity, body condition score at drying off, length of dry period, ration fed AP, milk yield data from previous and current lactation, milk somatic cell counts, and β-hydroxybutyrate PP. During the study period, temperature and humidity were recorded in the barn every hour, and temperature-humidity-index (THI) was calculated. Linear regression was performed with colostrum quality as the dependent variable. In the final model, colostrum quantity (L), length of dry period, parity, and climatic factors (specifically, median humidity in the 3rd week AP and hours with THI ≥72 in the last 14 and 21 d AP, respectively) were significant. Colostrum quality improved with parity and length of dry period and decreased with colostrum quantity, humidity, and hours with a THI ≥72. A classification and regression tree analysis revealed that colostrum quantity was the most important factor in this model [normalized importance (NI) 100%]. Parity (NI 42.7%), length of dry period (NI 37.1%), and climatic factors (NI 0.4 to 1.9%) followed with decreasing importance. These results indicate that the most important factors for colostrum quality (i.e., colostrum quantity and parity) may not be influenced by management. The 2 factors that can be influenced by management [i.e., length of dry period and THI (e.g., by cooling)], were quantitatively of minor importance compared with the other 2 factors. Further studies are necessary to determine whether changing these factors can improve colostrum quality significantly.

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