Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Short communication: Effect of straw inclusion rate in a dry total mixed ration on the behavior of weaned dairy calves
    Groen, M.J. ; Steele, M.A. ; DeVries, T.J. - \ 2015
    Journal of Dairy Science 98 (2015). - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 2693 - 2700.
    feed delivery method - heifers - cows - management - patterns - exposure - fiber
    The primary objective of this study was to determine the effect of straw inclusion levels on the feeding behavior of young, weaned calves adapted to a dry total mixed ration (TMR) composed of a multitextured concentrate and chopped straw. A secondary objective was to determine how developed feeding patterns persist after calves were switched to a conventional silage-based diet. Ten Holstein bull calves (91 ± 2.4 d of age, weighing 136 ± 12.3 kg) were assigned to 1 of 2 treatments: a TMR containing [dry matter (DM) basis] either (1) 85% concentrate and 15% chopped straw for 10 wk (wk 1 to 10) or (2) 85% concentrate and 15% chopped straw for 5 wk (wk 1 to 5), then 70% concentrate and 30% chopped straw for 5 wk (wk 6 to 10). After 10 wk, all animals were transitioned to a TMR containing (DM basis) 42.3% corn silage and 57.7% haylage for 2 wk (wk 11 to 12). During wk 1 to 5, all calves had similar DMI (5.5 kg/d), average daily gain (1.7 kg/d), feed efficiency (3.5 kg of DM/kg of gain), and eating time (151.9 min/d). During wk 6 to 10, calves transitioned to the 70% diet ate less DM (5.5 vs. 7.4 kg/d), grew more slowly (1.3 vs. 1.6 kg/d), sorted more against long forage particles (62.8 vs. 103.8%), and had greater feeding times (194.9 vs. 102.6 min/d). The difference in feeding time occurred only during the first 8 h after feed delivery. Despite similar DMI (5.2 kg/d) and average daily gain (1.1 kg/d) in wk 11 to 12, differences in behavior were observed resulting from previous diets. In wk 11 to 12, calves previously fed the 70% diet continued to have a longer meal immediately after feed delivery. Overall, the results indicate that diluting a dry TMR containing a multitextured concentrate and chopped straw with more straw resulted in calves spending more time feeding and having longer meals immediately after feed delivery; this feeding pattern carried over after calves were transitioned to a silage-based ration.
    Regio heeft grote invloed op levensvatbaarheid
    Pellikaan, F. ; Ouweltjes, W. ; Windig, J.J. ; Muskens, J. ; Linden, R. van der; Pelt, M.L. van; Calus, M.P.L. - \ 2014
    Veeteelt 31 (2014)14. - ISSN 0168-7565 - p. 10 - 13.
    melkveehouderij - kalveren - levensvatbaarheid - geboorte - vaarzen - grote landbouwbedrijven - bedrijfsgrootte in de landbouw - landbouwstatistieken - bedrijfsvergelijking in de landbouw - invloeden - dairy farming - calves - viability - birth - heifers - large farms - farm size - agricultural statistics - farm comparisons - influences
    Een afname van zes procent levend geboren kalveren van vaarzen tussen 1995 en 2010 was aanleiding voor nieuw sectoronderzoek. Uit de inventarisatie blijkt dat naast bekende factoren als draagtijd en geboorteverloop de regio waar het bedrijf is gehuisvest en het seizoen van afkalven zorgen voor opmerkelijke verschillen in levensvatbaarheid van kalveren.
    Behaviour of heifers during long distance transport : comparison between two different transportation schemes
    Visser, K.J. ; Werf, J.T.N. van der; Gunnink, H. ; Hindle, V.A. ; Riel, J.W. van; Dixhoorn, I.D.E. van; Gerritzen, M.A. - \ 2014
    Wageningen : Wageningen UR Livestock Research (Livestock research report 787) - 61
    melkvee - vaarzen - dierlijke productie - veevervoer - transport - diergedrag - diergezondheid - dierenwelzijn - dairy cattle - heifers - animal production - transport of animals - transport - animal behaviour - animal health - animal welfare
    This current study aimed to test if the welfare of heifers transported in commercial transports and under Cattle Cruiser conditions was increased if animals were allowed a 9-hour overnight stop (feeding and resting) on the vehicle compared to the common practice in which animals were rested (and fed) at least 1 hour after 14 hours of transport. The results of the study are intended as hypothesis forming and are only applicable to the Cattle Cruiser conditions under which the animals were transported in vehicles with the specifications outlined in Appendix 2.
    Foot disorders in dairy cattle: impact on cow and dairy farmer
    Bruijnis, M.R.N. ; Beerda, B. ; Hogeveen, H. ; Stassen, E.N. - \ 2012
    Animal Welfare 21 (2012)suppl. 1. - ISSN 0962-7286 - p. 33 - 40.
    holstein cows - claw disorders - lameness control - milk-yield - prevalence - associations - mastitis - heifers - england - health
    This paper considers the economic consequences and the welfare impact of foot disorders in dairy cattle and the association between them, taking into account clinical and subclinical foot disorders. In dairy farming with cubicle housing and concrete floors, foot disorders are a major welfare problem with serious economic consequences. On average, foot disorders cost €53 per cow per year, of which indirect cost factors are the main cause. Subclinical foot disorders, which are the foot disorders not recognised by dairy farmers, account for 50% of the total welfare impact and 32% of the total costs. The consequences of foot disorders can be difficult to observe and more insight into these consequences is helpful in stimulating actions to improve dairy cow foot health. Digital dermatitis (DD), an infectious foot disorder, is the most serious foot disorder from both an economic and welfare perspective. The correlation between economics and animal welfare impact suggests that reducing the problem of foot disorders from an economic perspective will positively influence the welfare of dairy cows. Insight into economic and welfare consequences of the different foot disorders, including the association between them, can help make dairy farmers more aware and help with decision-making regarding measures to improve dairy cow foot health. Keywords: animal welfare, dairy cattle, economics, foot disorders, modelling, welfare impact
    Familiekuddes : Judith Poelarends over de jong volwassen kudde
    Livestock Research, - \ 2012
    Wageningen : Wageningen UR Livestock Research
    melkveehouderij - dierenwelzijn - melkvee - dierlijke productie - diergezondheid - diergedrag - melkveestapel - kuddes (herds) - vaarzen - huisvesting, dieren - lactatie - stallen - duurzame veehouderij - biologische landbouw - dairy farming - animal welfare - dairy cattle - animal production - animal health - animal behaviour - dairy herds - herds - heifers - animal housing - lactation - stalls - sustainable animal husbandry - organic farming
    In de huidige melkveehouderij ervaren de vaarzen behoorlijk veel stress als ze in de koppel worden geïntroduceerd na het afkalven. Een groot deel van de dieren begint niet eens aan een tweede lactatie en verlaten het bedrijf omdat ze tegenvallen. We denken dat een 'jong volwassen kudde', waarbij vaarzen al veel eerder voor het afkalven in de kudde worden geïntroduceerd (bijvoorbeeld al na dekking of inseminatie of 2 tot 3 maanden voor afkalven) een positieve invloed heeft op deze groep dieren. Ze maken immers onderdeel uit van de kudde en de rangorde en raken gewend aan het management. Meer over de familiekudde op: http://www.familiekuddes.nl
    Compartment height in cattle transport vehicles
    Lambooij, E. ; Werf, J.T.N. van der; Reimert, H.G.M. ; Hindle, V.A. - \ 2012
    Livestock Science 148 (2012)1-2. - ISSN 1871-1413 - p. 87 - 94.
    animals - road - heifers - welfare - fear
    The objective of this study was to determine the effect of the space between the withers and the compartment ceiling on freedom of movement. The investigation was based on physical, biochemical and behavioural measurements during commercial transports. In total 7 transports were performed with cattle (adult dairy cattle, pregnant heifers and rosé veal calves) using a double deck vehicle with natural or forced ventilation for transportation to a slaughter house or assembly place for further shipment. The ceiling was set at 10, 15 or 20 cm for adult dairy cattle and rosé veal calves and 40 cm for pregnant heifers, above the withers. Adult dairy cattle and rosé veal calves head-butted the ceiling and pregnant heifers did not. Adult cattle move less (P
    Effects of human handling during early rearing on the behaviour of dairy calves
    Schütz, K.E. ; Hawke, M.L. ; Waas, J.R. ; McLeay, L.M. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Reenen, C.G. van; Webster, J.R. ; Stewart, M. - \ 2012
    Animal Welfare 21 (2012)1. - ISSN 0962-7286 - p. 19 - 26.
    human-animal interactions - play-behavior - veal calves - cattle - welfare - cows - reactivity - responses - contact - heifers
    We examined the effects of daily positive or negative human handling on the behaviour of Holstein-Friesian dairy calves (n = 20 calves per treatment, five calves per group). The response to humans and indicators of positive emotions were examined at four weeks of age. Calves that received positive handling approached a familiar handler within 1 min in 50% of the handling sessions compared to 17% of the sessions for negatively handled calves but showed no difference when approaching an unfamiliar person. Calves that received positive handling showed less avoidance behaviour in their home pen to an approaching unfamiliar person (score, positive: 3.7, negative: 2.8) but there was no treatment effect on flight distance when tested outside the home pen. Both treatment groups responded similarly to a novel object and performed the same amount of play behaviour. Calves that received positive handling interacted more with cow brushes than calves that received negative handling (positive: 9.9%, negative: 7.9% of the total time). At three months of age, avoidance behaviour was re-tested, this time including 20 control animals of the same breed and age, reared routinely on-farm. Controls showed more avoidance behaviour (positive: 1.5, negative: 1.0, control: 0.3) and had a greater flight distance (positive: 3.3 m, negative: 3.7 m, control: 4.9 m). The results confirm existing literature demonstrating that the quantity and quality of handling influence the response towards humans. Little evidence was found that the type of early handling influences behaviours indicative of positive emotions.
    Prevalence of respiratory disorders in veal calves and potential risk factors
    Brscic, M. ; Leruste, H. ; Ruis-Heutinck, L.F.M. ; Bokkers, E.A.M. ; Wolthuis-Fillerup, M. ; Stockhofe, N. ; Gottardo, F. ; Lensink, B.J. ; Cozzi, G. ; Reenen, C.G. van - \ 2012
    Journal of Dairy Science 95 (2012)5. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 2753 - 2764.
    swedish dairy calves - infectious-diseases - mycoplasma-bovis - cattle - morbidity - mortality - heifers - welfare - herds - association
    The study aimed to assess the in vivo and postmortem prevalence of respiratory disorders in veal calves and investigate risk factors associated with them. A cross-sectional study was carried out in 174 farms in the 3 major veal meat–producing countries in Europe (50 in France, 100 in the Netherlands, and 24 in Italy). Trained veterinarians visually evaluated individual calves of 1 batch per farm at 3 and 13 wk after arrival and at 2 wk before slaughter to assess the prevalence of hampered respiration, nasal discharge, and coughing. A random sample of lungs belonging to calves of the same batch was monitored at the slaughterhouse for mild to moderate or severe signs of pneumonia, and presence of pleuritis. Data regarding veal calf housing, feeding, and management and specific characteristics of the batch were collected through an interview with the stockperson, and the potential of these as respiratory disease risk factors was assessed. Regardless of the stage of fattening, the prevalence of in vivo signs of respiratory disorders in calves was always
    Mechanisms regulating follicle wave patterns in the bovine estrous cycle investigated with a mathematical model
    Boer, H.M.T. ; Röblitz, S. ; Stötzel, C. ; Veerkamp, R.F. ; Kemp, B. ; Woelders, H. - \ 2011
    Journal of Dairy Science 94 (2011)12. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 5987 - 6000.
    stimulating-hormone - dairy-cows - dynamics - heifers - association - cattle - prostaglandin-f2-alpha - repeatability - manipulation - fertility
    A normal bovine estrous cycle contains 2 or 3 waves of follicle development, and ovulation takes place in the last wave. However, the biological mechanisms that determine whether a cycle has 2 or 3 waves have not been elucidated. In a previous paper, we described a mathematical model of the bovine estrous cycle that generates cyclical fluctuations of hormones, follicles, and corpora lutea in estrous cycles of approximately 21 d for cows with a normal estrous cycle. The parameters in the model represent kinetic properties of the system with regard to synthesis, release, and clearance of hormones and growth and regression of follicles and corpora lutea. The initial model parameterization resulted in estrous cycles with 3 waves of follicular growth. Here, we use this model to explore which physiological mechanisms could affect the number of follicular waves. We hypothesized that some of the parameters related to follicle growth rate or to the time point of corpus luteum regression are likely candidates to affect the number of waves per cycle. We performed simulations with the model in which we varied the values of these parameters. We showed that variation of (combinations of) model parameters regulating follicle growth rate or time point of corpus luteum regression can change the model output from 3 to 2 waves of follicular growth in a cycle. In addition, alternating 2- and 3-wave cycles occurred. Some of the parameter changes seem to represent plausible biological mechanisms that could explain these follicular wave patterns. In conclusion, our simulations indicated likely parameters involved in the mechanisms that regulate the follicular wave pattern, and could thereby help to find causes of declined fertility in dairy cows.
    Pijnsignalen, wat doen we ermee?
    Driesse, M. ; Kluivers-Poodt, M. - \ 2010
    Veehouder en Dierenarts 24 (2010)1. - ISSN 1381-8007 - p. 22 - 23.
    melkveehouderij - melkkoeien - vaarzen - kalven - pijnstillende middelen - dierenartsen - pijn - dierenwelzijn - dairy farming - dairy cows - heifers - calving - analgesics - veterinarians - pain - animal welfare
    Dieren, dus ook koeien, laten niet snel merken dat ze pijn hebben. Want daarmee laten ze zien dat ze verzwakt zijn en dus een gemakkelijke prooi vormen. Hoogleraar veterinaire anesthesiologie prof. dr. Ludo Hellebrekers zei het vorig jaar tijdens een voordracht voor dierenartsen over pijn als volgt: “De grootste valkuil is: ik zie geen abnormaal gedrag, dus het dier heeft geen pijn.”
    COWEL: a decision support system to assess welfare of husbandry systems for dairy cattle
    Ursinus, W.W. ; Schepers, F. ; Mol, R.M. de; Bracke, M.B.M. ; Metz, J.H.M. ; Groot Koerkamp, P.W.G. - \ 2009
    Animal Welfare 18 (2009)4. - ISSN 0962-7286 - p. 545 - 552.
    physiological-responses - milking - model - behavior - heifers - barn - claw
    Animals have various behavioural and physiological needs that are important for welfare. Fulfilment of these needs depends on the quality of housing, management and animal characteristics. The objective of this study was to develop a model to assign welfare scores to husbandry systems for dairy cattle, based on scientific results, and thereby supporting the design of new, welfare-friendly systems. COWEL is a computer-based decision support system that contains attributes regarding housing and management conditions. These attributes are technical specifications that contain various technical units called levels. These levels are ranked from best-to-worst regarding welfare, based on scientific information about animal-based parameters. This information, inserted in the model as statements, was weighted depending on the impact it has on welfare by using weighting categories. Thereafter, a weighting factor was calculated for each attribute which determines how important an attribute is for welfare. The COWEL model contains 2,343 statements on dairy cattle welfare from 476 sources found during a literature survey. The model was applied to four husbandry systems, namely a tie-stall, cubicle housing, a straw yard and a pasture-based system. The welfare scores, calculated by COWEL for these husbandry systems, correspond with the general opinion about these systems. A tie-stall receives a low and a pasture-based system a high welfare score: 211 and 271, respectively. A husbandry system can receive a maximum of 313 on the welfare scale of COWEL. We conclude that COWEL can be used to rank husbandry systems on a welfare scale, and may be a useful tool to develop new, sustainable and welfare-friendly systems for dairy cattle
    Lifetime productivity of dairy cows in smallholder farming systems of the Central highlands of Kenya
    Rufino, M.C. ; Herrero, M. ; Wijk, M.T. van; Hemerik, L. ; Ridder, N. de; Giller, K.E. - \ 2009
    Animal 3 (2009). - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 1044 - 1056.
    holstein-friesian cattle - boran bos-indicus - lactational performance - economic-evaluation - management - feed - model - reproduction - district - heifers
    Evaluation of lifetime productivity is sensible to target interventions for improving productivity of smallholder dairy systems in the highlands of East Africa, because cows are normally not disposed of based on productive reasons. Feeding strategies and involuntary culling may have long-term effects on productive (and therefore economic) performance of dairy systems. Because of the temporal scale needed to evaluate lifetime productivity, experimentation with feedstuffs in single lactations is not enough to assess improvements in productivity. A dynamic modelling approach was used to explore the effect of feeding strategies on the lifetime productivity of dairy cattle. We used LIVSIM (LIVestock SIMulator), an individual-based, dynamic model in which performance depends on genetic potential of the breed and feeding. We tested the model for the highlands of Central Kenya, and simulated individual animals throughout their lifetime using scenarios with different diets based on common feedstuffs used in these systems (Napier grass, maize stover and dairy concentrates), with and without imposing random mortality on different age classes. The simulations showed that it is possible to maximise lifetime productivity by supplementing concentrates to meet the nutrient requirements of cattle during lactation, and during early development to reduce age at first calving and extend productive life. Avoiding undernutrition during the dry period by supplementing the diet with 0.5 kg of concentrates per day helped to increase productivity and productive life, but in practice farmers may not perceive the immediate economic benefits because the results of this practice are manifested through a cumulative, long-term effect. Survival analyses indicated that unsupplemented diets prolong calving intervals and therefore, reduce lifetime productivity. The simulations with imposed random mortality showed a reduction of 43% to 65% in all productivity indicators. Milk production may be increased on average by 1400 kg per lactation by supplementing the diet with 5 kg of concentrates during early lactation and 1 kg during late lactation, although the optimal supplementation may change according to milk and concentrate prices. Reducing involuntary culling must be included as a key goal when designing interventions to improve productivity and sustainability of smallholder dairy systems, because increasing lifetime productivity may have a larger impact on smallholders¿ income than interventions targeted to only improving daily milk yields through feeding strategies.
    Laag celgetal bij eerste afkalving betaalt zich terug
    Smolders, E.A.A. ; Wagenaar, J.P. - \ 2008
    V-focus 5 (2008)5. - ISSN 1574-1575 - p. 20 - 21.
    melkveehouderij - vaarzen - melkproductie - uiers - diergezondheid - biologische landbouw - celgetal - kalven - dairy farming - heifers - milk production - udders - animal health - organic farming - somatic cell count - calving
    De uiergezondheid van meer dan 7.500 vaarzen van ruim 100 biologische melkveebedrijven zijn beoordeeld op basis van MPR-gegevens (MelkProductieRegistratie 2003-2007). Het celgetal in de eerste MPR na afkalven was gemiddeld 82.000 en was het laagst bij dieren die afkalfden in het begin van de stalperiode. Afkalven op oudere leeftijd had geen gunstige invloed op het celgetal. Vaarzen die afkalfden met een laag celgetal hielden een lager celgetal tijdens de lactatie en werden minder snel afgevoerd
    Genetic Aspects of Growth of Holstein-Friesian Dairy Cows from Birth to Maturity
    Coffey, M.P. ; Hickey, J.M. ; Brotherstone, S. - \ 2006
    Journal of Dairy Science 89 (2006)1. - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 322 - 329.
    quantitative trait loci - energy-balance profiles - body-weight - random regression - murine growth - live-weight - feed-intake - heifers - parameters - protein
    In general, genetic selection is applied after first calving to traits that manifest themselves during the animal¿s productive life, mostly during the early part of productive life. This selection policy has had undesirable correlated responses in other economically important traits, such as health and fertility, and may also have had an effect on the growth of animals both during productive life and before first calving. In this study, we analyzed the growth trajectory of dairy heifers that had been selected for maximum production of combined fat and protein (measured in kg; select line) or for average production (control line) in the United Kingdom. Before first calving, these divergent lines were managed as a single group. Select line heifers grew faster than did control line heifers. They were also heavier at first calving, but by the end of 3 lactations, the lines were not significantly different in live weight. Selection primarily for yield and for other traits has led to heifers that grow faster and reach higher growth rates earlier in life. A genetic analysis of birth, weaning, and calving weights yielded heritability estimates of 0.53 (birth weight), 0.45 (weaning weight), and 0.75 (calving weight). Confidence intervals for the genetic correlations between the traits indicated that these BW traits are not under the same genetic control.
    Pedometer readings for estrous detection and as predictor for time of ovulation in diary cattle
    Roelofs, J.B. ; Eerdenburg, F.J.C.M. van; Soede, N.M. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2005
    Theriogenology 64 (2005)8. - ISSN 0093-691X - p. 1690 - 1703.
    estrus detection - sexual activities - cows - insemination - progesterone - heifers - signs
    The objective of this study was to study the relationship between increase in number of steps measured by pedometers, behavioral estrous parameters and time of ovulation, in order to investigate whether the number of steps can be used as a tool for estrous detection and as a predictor for time of ovulation. In total, 63 ovulations were observed in 43 Holstein-Friesian cows. Different behavioral signs of estrus were observed at 3 h intervals. Cows were equipped with pedometers, which stored number of steps in 2 h time periods and pedometer estrus alerts were defined using different algorithms and thresholds. The percentage of behavioral estruses also detected by pedometers measurements, ranged between 51 and 87% for all estrous periods. When only estrous periods where taken into account in which more than one animal was in estrus, detection percentages increased up to 95%. Number of steps taken during the estrous period was higher when more animals were in behavioral estrus at the same time, and number of steps taken during the estrous period was also higher for primiparous cows compared to multiparous cows. Ovulation occurred 29.3 ± 3.9 h after onset of increased number of steps (ranging between 39 and 22 h) and 19.4 ± 4.4 h after the end of increased number of steps (ranging between 35 and 12 h). The intervals were not influenced by the number of animals that were in estrus at the same time or by parity. In conclusion, pedometers can detect estrus accurately and appear to be a promising tool for prediction of ovulation and hence could be a tool for improving fertilization rates.
    Influence of repeated rectal ultrasound examinations on hormone profiles and behaviour around oestrus and ovulation in dairy cattle
    Roelofs, J.B. ; Bouwman, E.G. ; Dieleman, S.J. ; Eerdenburg, F.J.C.M. van; Lansbergen, L.M.T.E. ; Soede, N.M. ; Kemp, B. - \ 2004
    Theriogenology 62 (2004)7. - ISSN 0093-691X - p. 1337 - 1352.
    peripheral plasma-concentrations - estrous-cycle - luteinizing-hormone - follicular dynamics - body-temperature - bos-indicus - heifers - bovine - cows - progesterone
    Frequent rectal ultrasound is often used to assess time of ovulation. This study investigated whether frequent rectal ultrasound examination, affects behavioural oestrus and peri-ovulatory hormone profiles (LH, oestradiol and progesterone). Additionally, the relation between peri-ovulatory hormone profiles, oestrous behaviour and time of ovulation was studied. Oestrus was synchronised in two consecutive cycles of Holstein Friesian cattle (parity from 1 to 6; n=24 cycles). In 12 of these cycles, time of ovulation was assessed by three-hourly rectal ultrasound (assessment of ovulation time with ultrasound group: UG) the other half served as controls (n=2; no assessment of ovulation time group: CG). There were no significant differences between the onset of oestrus (33.8±1.6 h), duration of oestrus (13.4±0.9 h) or intensity of oestrous behaviour (1047±180 points) between UG and CG treated animals. Furthermore, LH, oestradiol and progesterone profiles were similar between UG and CG. For UG, ovulation took place 30.2±1.9 h after onset of oestrus. This interval had the largest variation (21 h) of all parameters studied, ranging between 19 and 40 h after onset of oestrus. The smallest variation (6 h) was found in the timing of ovulation in relation to the LH-peak; ovulation took place 25.3±0.6 h (range: 21.5-27.5 h) after the peak in LH. This study demonstrated that repeated rectal ultrasound does not alter behavioural oestrus or peri-ovulatory hormone profiles and is therefore a useful tool for assessing time of ovulation. Further research, using ultrasound, can now be carried out to find predictors for time of ovulation.
    Effects of non-esterified fatty acids on bovine granulosa cells and developmental potential of oocytes in vitro
    Jorritsma, R. ; Cesar, M.L. ; Hermans, J. ; Kruitwagen, C. ; Vos, P. ; Kruip, T.A.M. - \ 2004
    Animal Reproduction Science 81 (2004)3-4. - ISSN 0378-4320 - p. 225 - 235.
    growth-factor-i - dairy-cows - energy-balance - early lactation - body condition - progesterone - postpartum - heifers - cattle - follicles
    High yielding dairy cows experience a negative energy balance (NEB) shortly after parturition, which is accompanied by high concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) in blood up to approximately 3 weeks post partum. We hypothesized that the elevated plasma NEFA concentration causes lower fertility by exerting negative effects on grarnulosa cells and oocytes in the ovary, leading to less viable embryos and insufficient corpora lutea. In two series of experiments, we studied the effects of a realistic NEFA (C18:1) concentration on both the proliferation and the progesterone production of follicular granulosa cells in vitro (part I) and on maturation, fertilization and developmental potential of oocytes (part II). For part I, granulosa cells were added to 4 groups of dishes with four different media and cultured for nine consecutive days. After a preculture period of 42 h, the presence of NEFA had a negative effect on the proliferation of granulosa cells. No effect of NEFA on the amount of progesterone production per cell was observed. For part II, a total of 1804 cumulus-oocyte-complexes were collected from slaughterhouse ovaries. Using a subgroup of 690 COC, maturation medium with NEFA caused a delay in maturation. Using another 1114 COC, fertilization, cleavage, and embryonic development after maturation in presence of NEFA were significantly reduced. We concluded that the presence of NEFA in follicular fluid and blood of postpartum cows may reduce fertility due to hampered embryonic development and subnormal CL function. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Comparison of external morphological traits of newborns to inner morpholical traits of the dam in the double-muscled Belgian Blue Beef breed.
    Coopman, F. ; Gengler, N. ; Groen, A.F. ; Smet, S. de; Zeveren, A. van - \ 2004
    Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 121 (2004)2. - ISSN 0931-2668 - p. 128 - 134.
    birth-weight - calving ease - cattle - dystocia - heifers - growth - selection - size
    In the double-muscled (DM) Belgian Blue Beef (BBB) breed, caesarean section (CS) is used as a routine management tool to prevent dystocia. This practice is criticized on animal welfare grounds. With unassisted (natural) births, difficulties arise because of disproportion between the sizes of the newborn and inner pelvic sizes of the dam. In this study external morphological traits of newborns are compared with inner morphological traits of the dam. Results of this study indicate that in the DM-BBB, CS is the only means to successful calving. Therefore, no calving ease scores are available to select for less dystocia in this breed. Selection for fewer CS must be achieved by focusing on lower birth weight (BW) and decreased muscular conformation at birth, both having a sufficiently high heritability. Simultaneously, pelvic sizes of the dam should be increased. It is very likely that the look of the DM-BBB will change when selecting for less dystocia.
    Estimating internal pelvic sizes using external body measurements in the double-muscled Belgian Bleu beef breed
    Coopman, F. ; Smet, S. ; Gengler, N. ; Haegeman, A. ; Jacobs, K. ; Poucke, M. van; Laevens, H. ; Zeveren, A. van; Groen, A.F. - \ 2003
    Animal Science 76 (2003)2. - ISSN 1357-7298 - p. 229 - 235.
    genetic-parameters - cattle - dystocia - dimensions - heifers - heritabilities - conformation - females - weight - traits
    In the double-muscled (DM) Belgian Blue beef (BBB) breed, caesarean section (CS) is being applied systematically as a management tool to prevent dystocia. As a matter of fact, CS is the only possible way of calving in the breed. High birth weight and a relatively small pelvic area are the main causes of dystocia and, in the DM-BBB breed, the reasons for the systematically applied CS. Selection for lower birth weight and larger pelvic sizes might reduce dystocia and routine CS. Few data on inner pelvic sizes of pedigree animals are available. Using external measurements to estimate the inner pelvic sizes might be an option to resolve this problem. In this study, animals of the DM-BBB breed were measured and weighed on farms and in abattoirs. External and internal pelvic sizes increased with live weight and age of the animals. Gender had a significant influence on inner pelvic traits. Increased muscular conformation was associated with decreased inner pelvic dimensions. Models with weight, gender, age, withers height and outer pelvic width (TcTc) can be used to estimate inner pelvic sizes (R-2 between 0.35 and 0.77). The estimated inner pelvic sizes can then be used to genetically evaluate pelvic traits in the DM-BBB breed. Improving weight, withers height and TcTc width in combination with lowering muscular conformation may help to decrease the high rate of caesarean section in the DM-BBB.
    Prevalence of claw disorders in Dutch dairy cows exposed to several floor systems
    Somers, J.G.C.J. ; Frankena, K. ; Noordhuizen-Stassen, E.N. ; Metz, J.H.M. - \ 2003
    Journal of Dairy Science 86 (2003). - ISSN 0022-0302 - p. 2082 - 2093.
    papillomatous digital dermatitis - risk-factors - sole hemorrhages - cattle - lameness - herds - heifers - health - farms
    Claw health was examined in an observational study on Dutch dairy farms with either a slatted floor (SL), slatted floor with manure scraper (SL-SCR), solid concrete floor (SCF), a straw yard (SY), or a zero-grazing feeding system (ZG). Hooves of cows' hind legs were examined for the presence and severity of claw disorders during hoof trimming events at the end of the pasture (P-study) and housing period (H-study). The number of cows in each study was 3078 (49 herds) and 3190 (47 herds), respectively. Due to a different hoof trimming strategy, data collected during both observation periods in SY herds (638 cows; 16 herds) were combined. Cows in straw yards (SY) had by far the lowest numbers of claw disorders. Over 80% of cows exposed to concrete flooring had at least one claw disorder at the time of observation, whereas on SY surfaces, this percentage was between 55 and 60. Cows on SL-SCR were less frequently affected by interdigital dermatitis/heel erosion (IDHE) and digital dermatitis (DD) than cows on SL (reference floor system). Little difference in claw health was found between SF and SL. The ZG cows were at higher risk (OR > 2) for most claw disorders in the P-study, whereas in the H-study, ZG cows showed less IDHE, sole hemorrhage, and sole ulcer. All herds on concrete flooring (SL, SL-SCR, SCF, ZG) were infected by DD, resulting in an average cow level prevalence of 30%. This indicates that the level of DD infection has increased considerably over the last 10 yr in The Netherlands.
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